MoCP at Columbia Presents Exhibit Advocating for Solidarity Among Global Artists of Color
The Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP), which is housed within Columbia College Chicago, will present Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part, an exhibition featuring two concepts interwoven as one.
Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part advocates dialogue and solidarity across the experiences of global artists of color and Black diasporic artists. Presenting both exhibition concepts as one breaks from the traditional way exhibits are commonly ethnically separated in the art world challenging the notion of global segregation.
“There's a desire to encourage deep thinking about parallel experiences and relationships between global artists of color and diverse Black artists,” says Asha Iman Veal, Associate Currator at MoCP. “Part of the goal of the two titles is that museum visitors are invited to be active in thinking through different ways individual artists and artworks may fit together, or why it might be assumed that they don't fit. This exhibition is asking people to consider why we categorize the way that we do—within museums exhibitions, but also in the world outside.”
According to Veal, Beautiful Diaspora considers contemporary art as central to the portrayal of expansiveness—beyond a single-country scope, political commodity, or compressed narrative, while You Are Not the Lesser Part challenges the pervasive social casualness of assigning bodies and identities to the category “minority.”
The exhibit will feature artwork from photographic and multidisciplinary artists Xyza Cruz Bacani, Widline Cadet, Jessica Chou, Cog•nate Collective (Amy Sanchez Arteaga and Misael Diaz), Işıl Eğrikavuk, Citlali Fabián, Sunil Gupta, Kelvin Haizel, David Heo, Damon Locks, Johny Pitts, Farah Salem, Ngadi Smart, Tintin Wulia, and the debut of Abena Appiah.
“By many conventions, this group of artists would not be shown together under identity concepts, yet in this exhibition their interrelated visual conversations defy the political distances and legacies of colonialism that prefer their ideas neither align nor meet,” says Veal.
Columbia faculty are giving students the opportunity to experience Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part beyond a regular tour as part of their coursework this semester. Students in select courses will have the opportunity to learn about the curatorial process, discuss museums regarding activism and community engagement, or assist in the planning and logistics of a photography workshop and help curate a digital exhibition of the works created in the program for the museum’s website.
“Our goal is to reach students in all majors across the college in hopes that they will utilize the exhibitions, programs, and collections at the MoCP regardless of whether or not their focus or medium of choice is photography,” says Kristin Taylor, MoCP Curator of Academic Programs and Collections.
The exhibit will run from March 3 through June 26, 2022. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Visitors can make a reservation at mocp.org.