Nov 11, 2018-Dec 15, 2018

MoAD Emerging Artists presents 5/5 Collective

black now(here)

Founded in 2017, 5/5 Collective was born from a desire to recognize, support, and make visible the diversity of Black experiences and to encourage dialogue amongst artists throughout the African Diaspora. Each artist works independently, but all dedicating their practices to the exploration of Black(ness) as an idea, consciousness, reference, and embodied experience through space, language, and visual culture.

In black now(here), each artist approaches a unique narrative with an experimental process of their own — Inspired by cultural traditions of Nigeria, Nkiruka materializes an interior landscape through performance and video to construct new portraits that envision a deeper connection to place and home; Tania Balan-Gaubert compiles a “family album” of photographs that feature discarded furniture to address displacement, long-distance nationalism, and belonging; Troy Chew employs collage, painting, and symbolism to speak to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and its effects on the fabric of African-American culture.

black now(here) is an exploration of presence. This exhibition offers space to reflect on what it means to exist in chaotic times and reclaim a sense of belonging. 5/5 retraces their lineages and creates connections between homelands, history, and the present.


Individual Artist Bios:

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 exodus, 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 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, 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.


This exhibition was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.