Using Helina Metaferia’s multi-channel video work (Middle) Passage for Dreams as a starting point, this conversation between Metaferia and fellow artist Steve Locke will consider a question posed by the work that was first articulated by feminist scholar bell hooks: how can one create in a way that “exists not only as that struggle which also opposes dehumanization but as that movement which enables creative, expansive self-actualization?” (Middle) Passage for Dreams addresses subjectivities of the Black body within the context of the historical and current framework of the United States. Locke’s work engages questions of resistance, the body and its challenges. In both artists’ work, underlying so much of the inquiry is a question of love, the body and the potential for self-actualization. Helina Metaferia’s installation (Middle) Passage for Dreams, is on view through the Gallatin Galleries through April 7, 2021.
Helina Metaferia is an interdisciplinary artist working across performance, video, installation, collage, and social engagement. Her work investigates the politics of the body in sites, particularly as it relates to notions of identity and citizenship. Metaferia received her MFA from Tufts University’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; the Modern Art Museum, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; NOMAD Gallery, Brussels, Belgium; Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Mobile, AL, among many others. Metaferia’s work has been supported by residencies, including MacDowell, Yaddo, Bemis, MASS MoCA, and Triangle Arts Association. She is a Mellon Fellow/Assistant Professor at Brown University, and lives and works in New York.
Steve Locke is a New York-based artist whose work directs our gaze to help us look critically and unflinchingly at our shared history. Locke was born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Detroit, Michigan. In 2020, he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Solo exhibitions include the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, among others. He has done projects with ForFreedoms, Kickstarter, the Boston Public Library, and P.S. Satellites/Prospect IV in New Orleans and has had gallery exhibitions with yours mine & ours, Samsøñ, LaMontagne Gallery, Gallery Kayafas, and Mendes Wood. He attended residencies with the City of Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The MacDowell Colony, and Skowhegan. Locke is a recipient of grants from Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and Art Matters Foundation. His work has been reviewed in Artforum, Art in America, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker, and his writing has been published in Artforum as well as in museum catalogues. Locke is a Professor of Fine Arts at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
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