Exhibition features art by Nyugen Smith, examining water as a metaphor for the plight of Africans in the diaspora
Emerson Contemporary, Emerson College’s platform for presenting contemporary visual art, presents “Bundlehouse: Rising Into Something Else,” amultimedia exhibition underway that is showcased across the College campus, featuring performative videos, photographs, and new works on paper by Nyugen Smith, a first-generation Caribbean-American artist based in Jersey City, NJ. Smith explores water as an in-between space with vast potentialities: water as history, as culture, as memory and metaphor for the plight of Africans in the diaspora, complicated by the legacy of slavery.
The project is a metaphor for the traumatic experiences that people of color face in the United States, further instigated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Smith recognized the point during the pandemic where he himself felt as if he was sinking in ‘the water’ and when he began to emerge from this experience. According to Smith, we are at a moment in time as a society, where collectively, Black people are ‘rising into something else.’ Not lost in all of this, is the fact that we 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.
The exhibition is viewable in multiple locations across campus, including: windows of the Media Art Gallery at 25 Avery Street, lobby of the Little Building residence hall, stairwell of Tufte Building, lobby of 2 Boylston Street, and Emchannel. In partnership with ArtsEmerson, the exhibition features a new commission entitled “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 on Monday, November 2.
The exhibition runs through November 24, 2020. All spaces (except Ansin Emchannel) are accessible to the public, but wearing face coverings is required at all locations. Read more about the “Bundlehouse” exhibition online. Images are available upon request.
Emerson Contemporary is the College’s platform for showcasing contemporary visual art. It is focused on presenting living artists, their ideas, experiments, and creative practices in the areas of media art, performance art, and emergent technologies, while critically examining these works in their social context.
About the Artist
Nyugen E. Smith (USA, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago) is a first-generation Caribbean-American interdisciplinary artist based in Jersey City, NJ. Through performance, found object sculpture, mixed media drawing, painting, video, photo and writing, Nyugen deepens his knowledge of historical and present-day conditions of Black African descendants in the diaspora. Trauma, spiritual practices, language, violence, memory, architecture, landscape and climate change are primary concerns in his practice.
Nyugen holds a BA, Fine Art from Seton Hall University and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been presented at the Museum of Latin American Art, Peréz Art Museum, Museum of Cultural History, Norway, Nordic Black Theater, Norway, Newark Museum, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, among others. Nyugen is the recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Performing and Visual Arts Fund, Franklin Furnace Fund, Dr. Doris Derby Award, and Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Nyugen is a Lecturer of Interdisciplinary Art in the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.
Image caption: Nygen Smith, Bundlehouse: Rising Into Something Else, Mixed media and collage on paper, 2020, 11 x 8.5 in.
About Emerson College
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,780 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic as well as its new Global Portals, with the first program launching this fall in Paris. The College has an active network of 51,000+ alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit emerson.edu.