Emerging Artists: 2024-2025

MoAD's Emerging Artists Program (EAP) is excited to announce our 2024-25 cohort of artists.


Our Emerging Artists Program highlights local, emerging, and mid-career visual artists and art collectives through solo exhibitions that reflect the cultural and artistic richness of the African diaspora.

Mary Graham, Value Test: Brown Paper

Mary Graham, Lewis

Value Test: Brown Paper is an exhibition of portraits depicting fictional Black women rendered in oil on brown paper bags. The eponymous “paper bag tests” were historically conducted amongst the Black upper classes to gauge entry into elite spaces, granting access only to those lighter than the brown paper. Through this work Graham reflects on colorism, classism, and power, and their roots in white supremacy.

With colorism’s continued prevalence in the contemporary as both an internalized and systemic phenomenon, she attempts in this work to foster conversation, reconciliation, and a level of inter-communal healing. Rooted in an African-American spiritual tradition, Graham's work begins with the veneration of her own lineage, expanding to encompass themes of generational love, collective human origin, and our relationship to the unknown. Graham works primarily in figuration and portraiture, and is also a classically trained vocalist.

On view:

Mar 27, 2024 - May 19, 2024

Zekarias Thompson, The Meeting Place

Zekarias Musele Thompson, There's a First Time for Everything

This exhibition explores the possibilities of agency for the individual and the collective, within our conceptual, physiological, and geographical landscapes. Diptychs of photographic landscapes embellished with oil paint correspond with eight musical compositions playing continuously in the room, which are translated into a visual score of oil on canvas, while sculptures double as seating are arranged to create opportunities for group listening and observation. The relationships created by these overlapping disparate-seeming gestures intervene with entrenched ideas about the nature and interpretation of the art object, its authorship, and its viewership. Zekarias Thompson utilizes sonic composition, spatial facilitation, photography, collaborative group practice & performance, writing, and mark-making to intervene with entrenched historical narratives around individual and collective self-deception and embodied trauma. They have presented work at venues including the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, The Lab, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Museum of the African Diaspora, and Eternal Now in the Bay area, as well as Associate Gallery and Open in Reykjavik, Iceland.

On view:

May 29, 2024 - Sep 1, 2024

Corinne Smith, Silene Capensis

Corinne Smith, Unbound

Since early childhood Corinne Smith has been sensitive to the unknown. Suffering from night terrors, sleep paralysis and, sometimes, a strange difficulty in distinguishing between what is real and what isn’t, they are of the notion that maybe it all lies somewhere in between. With the use of Silene capensis root, the African dream root, Smith has been practicing guided meditation and dream re-entry to access powerful dreams that provide knowledge and symbolism to establish further connection to the divine, ancestral lineage and to promote healing. Smith utilizes dream re-entry, intuitive plant medicine, and color as a medium to cultivate a deeper relationship with difficult aspects of self, revealing prolific mythologies in spiritual realms. Paintings, illustrations, risographs, and animations offer a peek behind the curtain at the etheric process to discover self and ancestors; utilizing non-colonial ways of knowledge.

On view:

May 29, 2024 - Jul 21, 2024

Jessica Monette, Unveiling Histories: A Fabricated Archive

Jessica Monette, Kat 4

This exhibition is a deeply personal exploration, tracing fragmented pieces of Monette's lineage disrupted not only by the Middle Passage but by ongoing events that challenge her ability to sustain a familial archive. The turbulent terrain of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 further underscored the difficulty of this preservation. From ancient to recent pasts, this collection amalgamates items and information, forming a fabricated archive that documents a colonial and ancestral past reshaped by historical turbulence. Originally from New Orleans, Jessica Monette's work delves into her heritage, weaving tangible yet elusive threads of ancestral legacies. The work then becomes a gumbo of artifacts that are inherited, found and fabricated. Monette's artistic expression spans the realms of painting, sculpture, installation, and more seamlessly connecting these themes.

On view:

Oct 2, 2024 - Dec 15, 2024

Soleé Darrell

Soleé Darrell

Soleé Darrell's hope with this exhibition is to create an environment that facilitates introspection through abstraction and color. The show will contain six silk velvet paintings along with a triptych, soundscape, and offering/altar stand. The triptych will be large enough to allow the viewer to be fully enveloped by color and texture. The sound element will be a recording of sounds taken from moments of Darrell's life in which she feels most grateful to be alive. There will be a stand that has a flower arrangement and candle as an offering to the universe, as well as a seating area to allow the viewer to rest with the work. Soleé Darrell (1989) is a Bermudian born artist based in Northern California. She is self taught and her work is purely intuition-driven. She explores the experience and depth of being a human in this world while connecting with other worlds through practice and meditation. Each stroke encompasses color, vulnerability, passion, texture, and complete faith in the universe. Her hope is to bring some optimism to the viewer and bridge the gap between the intuitive world and the physical world.

On view:

Dec 18, 2024 - Feb 2, 2025

Made possible by