2018-19 Winners of the Museum of the African Diaspora Emerging Artists Program

Local Artists Indira Allegra, 5/5 Collective, Rodney Ewing, Angela Hennessy and DeShawn Dumas Awarded Solo Exhibitions as EAP Winners Beginning September 19, 2018.

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) today announced the winners of the museum’s fourth annual Emerging Artists Program (EAP). The EAP is an annual call for emerging and mid-career artists based in the Bay Area to propose a solo exhibition addressing the cultural and artistic richness of the African Diaspora.

This year’s Emerging Artist Program brings some firsts: With an astounding selection of exhibition proposals, out of 55 applicants, MoAD is able to support 5 artists for the 2018-2019 round, which is unprecedented.

The MoAD Exhibitions department has also been awarded a two-year grant of $146,504 through IMLS’ Museum Grants for African American History and Culture program. This increased funding allows MoAD to double the honorarium provided to artists in addition to maintaining an ongoing partnership with Art Practical for Notes from MoAD, an EAP podcast series piloted last year.

Indira Allegra is the first artist to exhibit during this season of Emerging Artists with an exhibition entitled BODYWARP opening September 19, 2018, followed by: FiveFifths Collective, opening November 11, 2018; Rodney Ewing, opening May 8, 2019; Angela Hennessy, opening July 1, 2019; and DeShawn Dumas opening September 2019.

The panelists for this year’s Emerging Artist Program included two previous EAP participants, Ebitenyefa Baralaye and Nyame Brown, contemporary artist and photographer, Erica Deeman and three members of MoAD staff.


Indira Allegra

Opening September 19, 2018
Indira Allegra works with tension as creative material to investigate themes of haunting and memorial. She is active in a range of fields including sculpture, performance, writing and installation. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at The Arts Incubator in Chicago, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Center for Craft Creativity and Design, Mills College Art Museum, Weinberg/Newton, 808 Gallery, Catharine Clark Gallery, The Alice Gallery and SOMArts among others. She has screened works at the Seattle Art Museum, MIX NYC, Bologna Lesbian Film Festival and Outfest Fusion. Her commissions include performances for SFMOMA, de Young Museum, The Wattis Institute, City of Oakland and SFJAZZ Poetry Festival. Allegra’s writing has been widely anthologized, and she has contributed works to Foglifter Magazine, Cream City Review, HYSTERIA Magazine, make/shift Magazine, and Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought among others.

5/5 Collective

Opening November 11, 2018
Multimedia collective, 5/5 is dedicated to exploring Black(ness) as an idea, consciousness, reference, and embodied experience through space, language, and visual culture. 5/5 was co-founded by Tania Balan-Gaubert, Troy Chew and Nkiruka Oparah during their MFA at California College of the Arts.

Co-Founders of 5/5 Collective:
Tania L. Balan-Gaubert is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and writer who uses photography, found and ready-made objects, craft materials, assemblage, and video to contemplate migration, long-distance nationalism, and belonging. She constructs works that are caught between several realms. Blending cultural symbols and signifiers, personal archive(s), spirituality and lore, Balan-Gaubert draws from her Haitian and American heritages to map a diasporic allegorical space she refers to as The 10th Department. Balan-Gaubert was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to the Bay Area from Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in 2018 and her MA in African American Studies from Columbia University in 2012.

Troy Chew is an artist from Hawthorne, California. He attended UC Merced, where he received his BA in Psychology. His work explores the African Diaspora within the urban culture through his two series, Out the Mud and Slanguage. Out the Mud speaks to the rip in the cultural fabric of African Americans, and the several negative and positive paths taken to repair and continue the fabric; while also questioning the definitions of “Fine art” and “Folk Art”. Slanguage is a reference to the colloquial speech rooted in urban areas and Hip-Hop music. Similar to Dutch and Flemish still lives, Troy depicts a literal representation of coded words used within urban culture.

Nkiruka Oparah Nkiruka Oparah is a first-generation Nigerian artist, curator, and writer living and working in Oakland, CA. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Georgia and her MFA from California College of the Arts. Employing methods of construction such as hand sewing, dyeing, collage, video and assemblage, Oparah builds multimedia portraits from found objects, familial and personal images, and repurposed materials to investigate black identity, Nigerian cultural memory, and as an ongoing attempt to materialize her experience of displacement.

Rodney Ewing

Opening May 8, 2019
Rodney Ewing’s drawings, installations, and mixed media works focus on his need to intersect body and place, memory and fact to re-examine human histories, cultural conditions, and events. With his work he is pursuing a narrative that requires us to be present and intimate. His work has been exhibited at Euphrat Museum of Art, Cupertino, CA; The Drawing Center, New York, NY; and in San Francisco, CA at Root Division, Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, Nancy Toomey Fine Art, Alter Space Gallery, and Ictus Projects. He was an Artist-in-Residence at Recology and the De Young Museum of Fine Arts both in San Francisco. Ewing received his BFA in Printmaking from Louisiana State University and his MFA in Printmaking West Virginia University.

Angela Hennessy

Opening July 3, 2019
Angela Hennessy is an Oakland-based interdisciplinary artist and Associate Professor at California College of the Arts where she teaches courses on visual and cultural narratives of death. Through writing, studio work, and performance, she examines mythologies of blackness embedded in linguistic metaphors of color and cloth. She leads workshops and lectures nationally on aesthetic and social practices that mediate the boundary between the living and the dead.

DeShawn Dumas

Opening September 2019
DeShawn Dumas is an abstract painter, educator and cultural critic. Dumas’ art, like the spectacle of consumer society itself, works precisely at the level of individual subjectivity. If the spectacle of screen culture packages violence in ways which divorce domination and suffering from ethical considerations, historical understanding and political contextualization, Dumas asserts, “my work concerns social death and the afterlives of chattel slavery.” His self-described ballistic monochromes question the racecraft of Western democracy – that mysterious way Diasporic bodies magnetize bullets and weaponize sidewalks, cellphones and wallets. Dumas is a domestic and internationally exhibited artist represented by Ethan Cohen New York. He is currently an AICAD Teaching Fellow at the San Francisco Art Institute.


Ebitenyefa Baralaye
Ebitenyefa Baralaye is a sculptor, mixed media artist and designer. His work explores dualities in cultural, spiritual and psychological symbolism interpreted through a diasporic lens and abstracted around the aesthetics of craft and design. Baralaye received a BFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in Ceramics from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Baralaye was an Emerging Artists Program recipient at the Museum of the African Diaspora in 2017 and is currently and AICAD Teaching Fellow at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Nyame Brown
Nyame O. Brown is a visual artist born in San Francisco, now living and working in the Bay area. He is an Afrofuturist installation artist working in the media of painting, drawing and cut paper.
Brown’s work addresses the Black imagination as a space for new ways to perceive Diaspora not just through unity and similarity’s but looking at the dynamics of difference to further comprehend diaspora. He uses the folklore cultural practices and symbols from the Diaspora to make paintings of contemporary black mythologies.
Recent accolades include Emerging Artist solo show at The Museum of The African Diaspora, Prizm Art Fair 2016 curated by Mikhaile Solomon and William Cordova for Miami Art week, and attending Theaster Gates “Black Artist Retreat” in August. In February 2017 Nyame in collaboration with Carrie Mae Weems participated in the Symposium “The interrogation of Forms” -The Changing culture in America at the Park Ave. Armory in NYC.
Brown received his BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 1993, and MFA from Yale school of Art and Architecture in 1997.

Erica Deeman
Erica Deeman’s work visualizes themes of identity, gender and race. Through the portrait she engages her audience to question the way in which they evaluate the face through their own visual expectations and historical portrayals. Deeman’s work explores the tradition of portraiture, placing the photograph at the forefront of this conversation.
Deeman has had a solo exhibitions at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Archive, Berkeley, CA and domestic and international group exhibitions at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, UK; The Hive, Worcester, Worcestershire, UK; Municipal Gallery, Library and Cultural Centre, Dublin, Ireland; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Old Truman Brewery, London, UK; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA; and SF Cameraworks, San Francisco, CA; and University of Derby, Derbyshire, UK.
Permanent collections include Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Miami, FL; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ, and Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA.

Demetri Broxton
Demetri Broxton brings over 17 years of experience in museums, K-12 education, nonprofits, and art galleries. His areas of expertise are visuals arts and arts education. Broxton is an independent curator and currently works at Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) as the Senior Director of Education, where he manages school and community outreach, develops curricular resources and programs for school-age and college-age audiences, docent programs, symposia, and other education related programming.

Emily Kuhlmann
Emily Kuhlmann coordinates the development, installation and curation of exhibitions at the Museum of the African Diaspora. She has organized the last four seasons of exhibitions at MoAD, curating both Alison Saar: Bearing and Who Among Us… The Art of Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle (2016). Emily received her B.A. from the University of California, Irvine in Art History with a minor in Women’s Studies and, she immediately continued her education back in Northern California, where she graduated with an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies from the California College of the Arts. Her research interests include performance studies and critical race art history. Concerned with accepted norms of race, class, and gender, Emily explored the work of William Pope. L, Wu Tsang, and Adrian Piper in her thesis Making Visible Bodies: Artistic Interventions of Recognition and Responsibility.

Soleil Summer
Soleil Summer has been employed at MoAD since April 2017. Previously, she has worked in administrative roles at Pro Arts Gallery and Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland, CA. She has also been a part of the Bay Area-based arts collective, Blackmail Collective, since Fall 2016.

Categories:  Exhibitions & Events, Press Releases