New York museum apologies to British Ghanaian artist for kicking her out over racist complaints

British Ghanaian artist, Heather Agyepong has received an unqualified apology from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City after she was kicked out from an installation.

The Black Power Naps installation which was deemed as a ‘safe and restful environment for Black visitors’ turned out to be the opposite when a white woman made racist complaints against Ms. Agyepong, calling her “Aggressive”.

Heather, who is a multidisciplinary artist and actor based in London shared the horrible news in a now-viral post on March 25, 2023

“I just got kicked out of @MuseumModernArt #blackpowernaps installation because a white woman said I was ‘aggressive’,” she posted


In response to the fall-out on their premises, a spokesperson for the Museum in a statement to The Art Newspaper promised to do better to “protect the experiences of Black visitors and visitors from Indigenous communities and communities of color”

It also added that it will continue to train staff on best practices tailored for each individual.

“We reached out to Heather Agyepong and apologized,” the spokesperson said. “We are committed to presenting programs that move race equity values forward and we acknowledge there will be challenges to work through and learn from as we support and invite artists and audiences to engage on these important issues.”

Black Power Naps co-creator Navild Acosta, who spoke to the newspaper disclosed that they had also received racial discrimination at their own installations and had asked the Museum to work on its racial sensitivity training to no avail.

“We insisted as soon as we were first contacted that this piece needed a serious commitment to anti-racism and that not doing so could warrant violence to our community, and we have been insisting ever since,” Acosta said. “It is only now that they are recognizing how urgent this is and willing to remunerate this labor. It’s been an uphill battle. In January, we ourselves were told to be quiet in our own installation by a white visitor.”

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Heather has not responded to the apology.  It is unknown what actions the award-winning photographer, who currently has her Wish You Were Here(2020) project showing at the Centre for British Photography in London, plans to take after the incident.



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