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UMBC's Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture presents States of Becoming, an exhibition curated by Fitsum Shebeshe and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), on view at the CADVC from September 22 through December 9.

States of Becoming examines the dynamic forces of relocation, resettling, and assimilation that shape the artistic practices of a group of 17 contemporary African artists who have lived and worked in the United States within the last three decades, and informs the discourse on identity construction within the African Diaspora.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Gabriel C. Amadi-EminaKearra Amaya GopeeKibrom ArayaNadia AyariVamba BilityElshafei DafallaMasimba HwatiChido JohnsonMiatta KawinziDora KingHelina MetaferiaNontsikelelo MutitiYvonne OseiKern SamuelAmare SelfuTariku Shiferaw, and Yacine Tilala Fall.

The concept for States of Becoming evolved from curator Fitsum Shebeshe’s lived experience following his 2016 move from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Baltimore, Maryland, and his subsequent firsthand knowledge of the weight of cultural assimilation. Confronted with a different society, Shebeshe encountered a wide range of existential questions that shaped his relationship to institutions and culture. Shebeshe also had the realization for the first time that he was viewed as belonging to a minority because of the color of his skin, and a newfound awareness of the profound impact Ethiopia’s traditional and conservative culture had on his personal sense of individuality.

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 as part of an initiative to support ICI’s commitment to new curatorial voices who will shape the future of the field, and ICI’s Curatorial Intensive alumni as they move through the stages of their career. 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. Exhibition graphics by Untitled Agency, Marrakech.

Opening Reception

An opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 21, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. A 6 p.m. panel discussion will feature Chukwudumebi Gabriel Amadi-EminaElshafei Dafalla, and Helina Metaferia, moderated by Maleke Glee, director of Stable Gallery in Washington, D.C. Exhibition curator Fitsum Shebeshe will provide an introduction. Please visit here for additional information.

Public Program

On Thursday, October 26 at 5 p.m., the CADVC presents a conversation with the curator, Fitsum Shebeshe, and Jessica Bell Brown, curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The discussion, moderated by Rhea Beckett, founding director at Black Artist Research Space, will focus on curatorial approaches to African diasporic experience and migration. Please visit here for additional information.

Visitor Information

Admission is free. The CADVC is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Parking is free during evening and weekend hours, and metered parking is available other times. Please visit here for directions and parking information.

Independent Curators International

Independent Curators International (ICI) supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement. Curators are arts community leaders and organizers who champion artistic practice, build essential infrastructures and institutions, and generate public engagement with art. Our collaborative programs connect curators across generations and across social political and cultural borders. They form an international framework for sharing knowledge and resources and for promoting cultural exchange, access to art, and public awareness of the curator’s role.

Logos that say ICI, Crozier, Hartfield Foundation

Image: Masimba Hwati, Rückspiegel 2, 2021, found materials. Courtesy the artist.

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