Sep 19, 2018-Dec 16, 2018

I TOLD YOU WHO AM I

Interdisciplinary artist, Shushan Tesfuzigta, looks to complicate the monolithic understanding of her community. Through her work, Tesfuzigta co-creates a freer future grounded in common struggles while showcasing the everyday mundanities of the Eritrean identity.

I Told You Who Am I reminds diasporas to dream of a world that acknowledges, centers, celebrates their experience. In bringing together two social practice artworks, Browa and the Halo Hafte Manifesto, this immersive experience expounds on the influence of diaspora on language and ever-changing culture. The ongoing list of archived words, phrases and sentences of the Browa series, exemplifies the performative aerobatics of language in global communities. Paired with the Halo Hafte Manifesto, the work articulates the ways in which one is able speak about their own experience without being in service of an enforced cultural narrative. Shushan Tezfuzigta, aptly demands the right to create and participate in worlds of her choosing, inviting us to do the same.

“I told you who am I simply by showing it.”

Through this text and image-based installation and the help of the many tongues of Shushan Tesfuzigta’s communities, I Told You Who Am I seeks to examine and legitimize the knowledge diaspora carries, during times when it is often silenced and overlooked.

About the Artist

Shushan Tesfuzigta makes work with her many communities; in Oakland and abroad. She can be spotted riding her red orange bike in the sunny streets of Oakland California. As a proud woman of the diaspora, she considers herself an Eritrean in Exile; making work exploring waste streams, Eritrean urbanism, and women who drink coffee outside the home. Her work has been featured at Joyce Gordon Gallery, the Recology SF AIR program, and Yerba Center for the Arts Fellows program. Currently she is working on a book project, Men of Keih Bahri and continues to build with her haftetat (sisters). Shushan holds a Bachelors in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts and in the fall of 2018 will be a Masters of City Planning candidate at UC Berkeley.

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