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States of Becoming

In the Daley Family and Monan Galleries
September 8–December 8, 2024

Click thumbnails to view selected objects in exhibition
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States of Becoming investigates the dynamic forces influencing seventeen contemporary African diaspora artists, selected by curator Fitsum Shebeshe. Gabriel C. Amadi-Emina, Kearra Amaya Gopee, Kibrom Araya, Nadia Ayari, Vamba Bility, Elshafei Dafalla, Masimba Hwati, Chido Johnson, Miatta Kawinzi, Dora King, Helina Metaferia, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Yvonne Osei, Kern Samuel, Amare Selfu, Tariku Shiferaw, and Yacine Tilala Fall draw from diverse artistic methodologies and experiences to explore their connections with real and imagined genealogies that signify cultural, racial, national, and geographical belonging. They conceptualize hybrid cultures by identifying, redefining, and becoming themselves through their work. The artists practice in numerous mediums—including painting, photography, sculpture, installation, and video—to express the many different ways in which identity is remade and reimagined.

States of Becoming is arranged in three groups: artists whose relocation prompted aesthetic transformations; artists who share their homelands’ experiences within their current communities; and artists who build bridges between the African diaspora and the United States. The exhibition aims to contribute to conversations about identity construction and assimilation in the face of emigration and resettling.

The artists represented, who chiefly now reside in the United States, have ties to twelve countries in Africa and one in the Caribbean—Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe—with roots in American cities including New York, Washington, DC, New Haven, Detroit, and Los Angeles.

States of Becoming is a traveling exhibition curated by Fitsum Shebeshe and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. Lead funding is provided by the Hartfield Foundation to support ICI’s commitment to new curatorial voices that will shape the future of the field and ICI’s Curatorial Intensive Alumni as they move through their careers. States of Becoming is made possible with the generous support of ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum. Crozier Fine Arts is the Preferred Art Logistics Partner.

The presentation at the McMullen Museum has been organized in collaboration with faculty from Boston College’s African and African Diaspora Studies Program. Additional funding has been provided by Boston College, the Patrons of the McMullen Museum, and Robert ’63 and Ann Marie Reardon P’91.


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