Ben Brown Fine Arts to open Ghosts of Empires ll, an exhibition curated by Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic Larry Ossei-Mensah.
The exhibition seeks to explore the intersections, overlaps, and dissonance between the Black Atlantic and Asia Imperialist Trade routes and brings together a group of contemporary artists hailing from African and Asian diasporas. The exhibition features the work of Hurvin Anderson, Adam de Boer, Delphine Desane, Theaster Gates, Jeanne F. Jalandoni, Tidawhitney Lek, Chris Ofili, Fadekemi Ogunsanya, Maia Cruz Palileo, Miguel Angel Payano Jr., Paul Anthony Smith, Zao Wou-Ki and Livien Yin.
The exhibition at its crux is an examination of how artists from African and Asian diasporas are using their artistic practices as a platform to engage with the legacies of slavery, migration, colonialism, imperialism trade, and sovereignty, in contemporary times. By amplifying the conscious acts of liberation, resistance, and perseverance these communities have exhibited – despite their historical circumstances – Ghosts of Empires ll will provide a forum for a nuanced understanding of their collective diasporic histories.
This show will highlight the oversights in the historical narratives that we’ve been taught designed to focus on cultural difference and articulate varying overlaps that exist within these communities. There are a multitude of communities that have been oppressed because of colonization and imperialism, who, in spite of that, have been able to thrive and create rich cultures that have had a heavy influence on contemporary society.Larry OsseiMensah
The curatorial process seeks to present dialogues and points of view that illustrate how these narratives cross, intermingle, and overlap. By finding the reverberations and echoes across time and space, calling attention to the fact that the residue of the past is omnipresent, and that history, culture, and identity are neither linear nor easily demarcated. Working in painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, and myriad mixed media, employing both traditional and new techniques, these artists have all found ways to examine their unique and often multifarious cultural histories via their rigorous artistic practices.
GHOSTS OF EMPIRES ll at Ben Brown Fine Arts 15th September – 22nd October 2022
Larry Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. The Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces globally. A native of The Bronx, Ossei-Mensah is the co-founder of ARTNOIR, a global collective designed to engage this generation’s diverse creative class and celebrate the artistry of Black and Brown artists around the world. Ossei-Mensah was a contributor to the first-ever Ghanaian Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, with an essay on the work of visual artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. He is also the former Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAD), Detroit, and currently serves as Curator-at-Large at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
(BAM), where he curated the New York Times-heralded exhibition Let Freedom Ring and FLOATING WORLD OF THE CLOUD QUILT, a solo exhibition by Saya Woolfalk. In 2021, Ossei-Mensah co-curated the critically acclaimed 7th Athens Biennale – ECLIPSE with OMSK Social Club. Recently Ossei-Mensah curated Purring Monsters with Mirrors on their Back featuring Guadalupe Maravilla at MCA Denver. He also curated Ghanaian painter Amoako Boafo’s first museum solo exhibition, Soul of Black Folks, at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), San Francisco, and the Contemporary Art Museum Houston which opened in Spring 2022. Ossei-Mensah’s work has been profiled in such publications as The New York Times, Artsy, Cultured Magazine, Frieze Magazine, Monocle, Ocula, WWD, The Robb Report, and Artnet