Atim Annette Oton

Atim Annette Oton is a Nigerian-born, American and British educated designer turned Curator. She is the co-owner of Calabar Imports, a 15 year old Brooklyn retail business, co-founder of Experience Africa and the founder of the Creative Side. She is the African Art Curator for AMREF Health Africa ARTBALL and Bronx:Africa. She founded Calabar Gallery in Harlem with extension spaces in Bed Stuy and Crown Heights.

She was a Huffington Post Black Voices Blogger who created the series, The Pulse of Africa where she wrote about Global Africans working in Africa and across the Diaspora and has an inside view on Africa’s progress, issues on arts and culture, technology and opportunities.

She spent her formative years in Calabar, Nigeria and studied architecture at the City College of New York and did graduate studies at the Architectural Association Graduate School in London, England. In New York, she worked in architecture and, by 2000, was part of the design team that won the African Burial Ground Interpretive Center. She worked as an executive producer on the Underground Railroad Experience, a cultural education website on the Underground Railroad and won an Independent Grant from the NYSCA for her work, the Black Hair Salon.

A founder of Blacklines Magazine, a quarterly magazine featuring black designers, she served as its executive vice president before joining Parsons School of Design as the Associate Chair of Product Design for 6 years. In 2006 she launched Calabar Magazine as a brand extension of her store Calabar Imports in Brooklyn.

In 2006, she stepped down from her role as the Associate Chair of Product Design at Parsons School of Design, working with black furniture designer Tony Whitfield, to concentrate on Calabar Magazine and Calabar Imports. After creating Calabar Imports in 2004, she has expanded the store to 3 neighborhood locations in Brooklyn – Crown Heights, Bed Stuy and Harlem.

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