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Saturday, November 28, 2020
HomeNews & StoriesEmerson Contemporary Wades into Nyugen Smith’s ‘BundleHouse’

Emerson Contemporary Wades into Nyugen Smith’s ‘BundleHouse’

painting of bones and debris floating in water
Nyugen Smith examines water as a metaphor for the plight of Africans in the diaspora in Bundlehouse.

Emerson Contemporary, Emerson College’s platform for presenting contemporary visual art, is presenting “Bundlehouse: Rising Into Something Else,” by first-generation Caribbean-American artist, Nyugen Smith, now through November 24. 

The exhibition is a multimedia project featuring performative videos, photographs, and new works on paper, and is on display in multiple locations across campus, including windows of the Media Art Gallery at 25 Avery Street, the lobby of the Little Building residence hall, the stairwell of Tufte Building, the lobby of 2 Boylston Street, and EmChannel. The public is welcome at all locations, except EmChannel; all patrons must wear masks at every location. 

Smith’s art highlights water as an in-between space with vast potentialities: water as history, as culture, as memory and metaphor for the difficult circumstances of Africans in the diaspora, complicated by the legacy of slavery. 

The project stands as a symbol for the traumatic experiences that people of color face in the United States, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smith was able to encounter his own personal battle with the pandemic in which he felt like he was sinking in “the water” and recognized the point at which he was able to rise above.

According to Smith, we are at a moment in time as a society, where collectively, Black people are ‘rising into something else.’ We also are living through a pivotal moment of a changing climate where water is bringing upon us an unprecedented level of devastation around the globe and within this, we are collectively ‘rising into something else,’ he said. 

In partnership with ArtsEmerson, the exhibition will also include a new piece of work called “Putting Up a Resistance: Now at the Paramount” which will be revealed on the Paramount Theatre marquee, as well as, the front of house display cases on both the Paramount Theatre and the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

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