Coffee, Rhum, Sugar & Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox

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In the context of the forthcoming exhibition Coffee, Rhum, Sugar & Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox (on view May 8-August 11, 2019) the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) presents Curators and Artists in Conversation, featuring artists Andrea Chung and Lavar Munroe in dialogue with the exhibition curators Dexter Wimberly and Larry Ossei-Mensah. This event takes place on May 5, 2019, from 5:00 to 6:30pm at the MoAD (located at 685 Mission Street, San Francisco, California). Cost: $10 General, $5 Students/Seniors, Free MoAD Members. [Many thanks to AICA Caraïbe du Sud for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description: The program brings together artists Andrea Chung and Lavar Munroe in dialogue with the exhibition curators Dexter Wimberly and Larry Ossei-Mensah.

This conversation will explore the use, influence, and political legacy of the materials described in the title of the exhibition, Coffee, Rhum, Sugar & Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox. The core products that have historically been produced in, and exported from the Caribbean to the rest of the world – coffee, rum, sugar and gold – remain highly valuable commodities and commercially important goods. However, because of their ubiquity, and the passage of time, these items have lost much of their historical gravity and visibility as key drivers of European colonialism.

Andrea Chung’s site specific installation use sugar as the medium engaging both the legacy of sugar plantations and colonial regime. Her projects bring in conscientious elements of her own labor and incorporate materials significant to the cultures she studies.

Growing up in Nassau, Lavar Munroe’s work engages with the contemporary cultural effects of colonization in the Bahamas. Using found materials of recycled Junkanoo costumes, spraypaint and earring studs, his work engages memories of the Caribbean in sculptural and 2D works.

Dexter Wimberly organizes exhibitions that explore contemporary culture, American history, economics, and power dynamics. He was recently appointed Executive Director of Aljira – a Center for Contemporary Art, located in Newark, New Jersey. A passionate supporter of the arts, Wimberly has exhibited the work of hundreds of artists internationally. During his decade-long career, he has organized exhibitions and programs at dozens of museums and galleries [. . .].

Larry Ossei-Mensah is a Ghanaian-American independent curator and cultural critic who has documented contemporary art happenings for various publications including NeueJournal, Uptown and Whitewall Magazine. His writings have profiled some of the most dynamic visual artists working today—Derrick Adams, Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Wiley, Lorna Simpson and street artist JR. As a curator, Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art and culture as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. He has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe featuring a roster of critically acclaimed artists including Firelei Báez, ruby amanze, Hugo McCloud, Brendan Fernandes, and Derek Fordjour to name a few. Recently, Ossei-Mensah was named the 2017 Critic-in Residence at ART OMI in addition to serving as Co-Chair on Russell Simmons’ RUSH Artist Advisory Board and a member of MoMA’s Friends of Education.

Andrea Chung received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design, New York, and a Master of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. Her recent biennale and museum exhibitions include Prospect 4, New Orleans and the Jamaican Biennale, Kingston, Jamaica, as well as the Chinese American Museum and California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and the San Diego Art Institute. In 2017, her first solo museum exhibition took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, You broke the ocean in half to be here. She has participated in national and international residencies including the Vermont Studio Center, McColl Center for Visual Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. [. . .]

Lavar Munroe creates multimedia works that explore themes rooted in the African Diaspora. Munroe was a participant in Okwui Enwezor’s 56th Venice Biennale and Trevor Schoonmaker’s Prospect 4. He recently had a Ten-Year Survey at the National Gallery of the Bahamas, as well as a solo exhibition at the Meadows Art Museum in Shreveport, LA, Devil in the White City. In 2019 he will be showing in the exhibition Get Up, Stand Up Now at the Somerset House, a major exhibition celebrating the last 50 years of black creativity and the Perez Art Museum Miami exhibition, The Other Side of Now. He has an MFA from Washington University, St. Louis, a BA from Savannah College of Art and Design, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He recently completed a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin County, CA, and has previously been an Artist in Residence at the Fountainhead Residency, Miami, FL. Munroe is a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting and Sculpture Grant awardee. Munroe is a Visiting Professor at Indiana University. He lives and works in Indiana and the Bahamas.

[Image above: Lavar Munroe, “Spy Boy,” 2018 Acrylic and earing stud on untrimmed canvas. Courtesy of the Artist and Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco and New York.]

For more information, see https://www.moadsf.org/event/curator-artists-talk-coffee-rhum-sugar-gold-a-postcolonial-paradox/?instance_id=15218&

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