Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not The Lesser Part
at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago)
March 3 – June 26, 2022
Link to virtual tour exhibition video
Link to website
Link to exhibition essay
Link to education guide
featuring: Xyza Cruz Bacani, Widline Cadet, Jessica Chou, Cog•nate Collective (Amy Sanchez Arteaga + Misael Diaz), Işil Eğrikavuk, Citlali Fabian, Sunil Gupta, Kelvin Haizel, David Heo, Damon Locks, Johny Pitts, Farah Salem, Ngadi Smart, Tintin Wulia, and debut of Abena Appiah.
Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part advocates dialogue and solidarity across the spectrum of experiences of global artists of color and Black diasporic artists. Two exhibition concepts and their interchangeable titles intertwine as one, breaking with more frequent traditions of ethnically separated and disconnected exhibition spaces in museology and the art world.
As a global forum, Beautiful Diaspora considers contemporary art as central to the portrayal of expansiveness—beyond a single-country scope, political commodity, or compressed narrative. This beautiful expansiveness exists as a testament to human spatial wandering and assertion, existing beyond assumptions and boundaries.
You Are Not the Lesser Part challenges the pervasive social casualness of assigning bodies and identities to the category “minority” (quite a mis-imagining). Neither negligible nor small, the significance of our presence is not the lesser part of anything. The description word "minor" does not match our fullness, agency, and dreams.
There's a desire to encourage deep thinking about parallel experiences and relationships between global artists of color and diverse Black artists. Part of the goal of the two titles is that museum visitors are invited to be active in thinking through different ways individual artists and artworks may fit together, or why it might be assumed that they don't fit. This exhibition is asking people to consider why we categorize the way that we do—within museums exhibitions, but also in the world outside. This group of artists by many conventions isn’t one that would usually be shown together under identity concepts.
The visual conversation among these fifteen artists defies the imposed political distances and legacies of colonialism that prefer they (we) neither align nor meet. There is a significance, and a hope, to diverse Black and global artists of color together in shared space.
Beautiful Diaspora/You Are Not the Lesser Part features photo and multidisciplinary artists Xyza Cruz Bacani, Widline Cadet, Jessica Chou, Cog•nate Collective (Amy Sanchez Arteaga and Misael Diaz), Işıl Eğrikavuk, Citlali Fabián, Sunil Gupta, Kelvin Haizel, David Heo, Damon Locks, Johny Pitts, Farah Salem, Ngadi Smart, Tintin Wulia, and the debut of Abena Appiah.
Behind the Lens: Sunil Gupta, 2022
Behind the Lens: Ngadi Smart 2022
In Conversation: Johny Pitts, Damon Locks, Citlali Fabián 2021
In Conversation: Xyza Cruz Bacani, Jessica Chou, Farah Salem 2022
In Conversation: Kelvin Haizel and Dr. Robert Hanserd 2022
ABC 7 Chicago