The Africa Center presents “States of Becoming“, a group exhibition curated by Fitsum Shebeshe and created by Independent Curators International in its spaces at Aliko Dangote Hall through February 26, 2023.
States of Becoming examines the powerful forces of relocation, resettlement, and osmosis that shape the creative acts of 17 contemporary African artists who have lived and worked in the United States over the past three decades, and illuminates the discourse of identity development within the African diaspora.
States of Becoming will be the first significant exhibition of contemporary art at the African Community since it was transformed into a historic center for African art in 2013, and will be the lead exhibition in Independent Curators International’s presentation. In addition, this exhibition highlights artists such as Gabriel C. Amadi-Emina, Nadia Ayari, Vamba Bility, Elshafei Dafalla, Kearra Amaya Gopee, Kibrom Araya, Masimba Hwati, Chido Johnson, Helina Metaferia, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Yvonne Osei, Kern Samuel, Miatta Kawinzi, Dora King, Amare Selfu, Tariku Shiferaw and Yacine Tilala Fall.
Through “States of Becoming“, an idea born out of Fitsum Shebeshe‘s experience after his 2016 move to Baltimore, Maryland, and the first-hand information he obtained about the heaviness of social osmosis. Confronted with a different society, Fitsum Shebeshe asked himself many existential questions that shaped his relationship to culture.
Fitsum Shebeshe also had the opportunity to recognize that he was considered part of a minority because of his skin color, and became aware of the significant effect of traditional and moderate Ethiopian culture on his own sense of uniqueness.
Having found a kinship with cultural experts from the African diaspora who shared her experience, Fitsum Shebeshe made the choice to bring together these artists who have come to the United States in recent years or who are of African descent in order to highlight their relationship to the American milieu, which is reflected in their work.
States of Becoming examines the endless journey of these artists as they distinguish, reclassify, and become themselves in both local and global contexts, opening up views of various states, both geographic and profound, in a constant movement of variation and presents works made in a variety of mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, installation, and video, that express the wide range of ways in which character is changed and reconsidered.
These unmistakable encounters produce a sense of mixed culture, each attempting to reconceptualize a mixed culture, shaped from authentic and envisioned lineages: social, racial, public and geological place.