The Station Museum of Contemporary Art is postponing the opening of No Man’s Land until further notice. The group exhibition features artists and individuals from four continents whose work reflects on the legacy of colonialism and intervention, especially as it relates to migration and diaspora. In creating artificial boundaries and imposing foreign power structures, colonialism often generates conflicts which force people into new locations. Many of today’s refugee crises, whether driven by conflict, climate or economic opportunity, can be traced back to colonial imposition. This exhibition is a meditation on the complex legacy of colonialism as well as a starting point for conversations on the shifting layers of indigeneity and belonging. The exhibition will be on view from March 14th through July 26th, 2020.
Living in South Texas’ Rio Grande delta since time immemorial, the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe, or Esto’k Gna meaning “human beings”, might be the largest indigenous tribe most people have never read about in their history books. The Spanish mistakenly named them Carrizo (reeds) after their reed homes, later the Mexicans commonly identified them as Comecrudo (eats raw). There is documentation that states, in 1859, some of the remaining Karankawa People went to live with the Carrizo Comecrudo in South Texas. The Carrizo/Comecrudo are united in peacefully defending their lands, natural water sources, sacred burial and ancestral village sites, as well as their inherent rights as the Autochthonous People of Somi Se’k (Esto’k Gna tribal land) from additional construction of the United States/Mexico border wall, fracking, and several proposed pipelines and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) terminals in the Rio Grande Valley and the rest of Texas—where most of their vast territory is located.
Tiffany Chung’s (Vietnam/USA) cartographic drawings, sculptures, videos, photographs, and theater performances examine conflict, migration, displacement, urban progress and transformation in relation to history and cultural memory. Chung’s interest in imposed political borders and their traumatic impacts on different human populations has underpinned her ongoing comparative study of forced migration—through both the current Syrian humanitarian crisis and the post-1975 mass exodus of Vietnamese refugees, of which she was a part.
As a social documentary photographer, Marti Corn tells stories of people who have been oppressed, dismissed, and marginalized. In the context of community gatherings, she makes portraits of individuals and collecting their oral histories by providing safe environments for people to feel comfortable enough to share their stories. Corn also teaches visual storytelling workshops and is a co-founder and mentor at Dream Magical Studio, a group of young photographers in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya. Students of her workshops are taught self-sufficiency in both commercial photography and community organization, learning to create and teach similar outreach programs of their own in area schools.
The team at Dream Magical Studio, uses photography as a tool to help people understand their world living inside Kakuma Refugee Camp, pointing out aspects of their lives that otherwise are overlooked. Through their imagery, the team members approach topics such as eroding cultural traditions, forced dependence on government agencies that strip them of both their integrity and freedoms, and pervasive sexual violence. The team chooses topics that they hope will change the narrative of refugee camps, recognizing that changes are needed as we acknowledge these camps are no longer temporary, but instead, are permanent solutions to a growing crisis. Dream Magical Studio features the work of Deng Chol Aguer, Nancy Apio Alesio, Atem Deng Atem, Twite Jean Claude, Dan Akim Dau, Dhieu Lual Deng, David Erjok, Istarlin Abdi Halane, Yusif Kalo, Maya Aluel Kur, Akuok Samuel Mach, Mbarushimana Salum, and Lisala Alphonse Selenga.
Stephenal Thakiy is a painter from South Sudan currently living in a refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. His paintings depict events and experiences painted from memory that reflect his journey into exile and life in a refugee camp.
Fabiola Ferrero is a journalist and photographer from Venezuela covering Latin America. While focusing on the human condition through writing and photography, her personal work contrasts her childhood memories with contemporary Venezuela. The economic crisis, political violence and the grief for her homeland has led her to explore how societies act under hostile contexts. Fabiola Ferrero’s exhibition, Blurred in Despair, is presented courtesy of the Bronx Documentary Center.
Patrick McGrath Muñiz is an American artist from Puerto Rico who works primarily with oil paintings on canvas and retablos. His work is inspired by Renaissance, Baroque, and Latin American colonial paintings while addressing issues such as colonialism, consumerism, and climate change. Appropriating colonial visual language, Muñiz provides historical continuity between the colonial and neo-colonial narratives present in the Anthropocene, shedding new light on how our capitalist and consumerist doctrines have modified our appreciation towards history, nature and ourselves.
Vincent Valdez is recognized for his monumental portrayal of the contemporary figure. His drawn and painted subjects remark on a universal struggle within various socio-political arenas and eras. He states, “My aim is to incite public remembrance and to impede distorted realities that I witness, like the social amnesia that surrounds me.”
NO MAN’S LAND
March 14 – July 26, 2020
ESTO’K GNA CARRIZO/COMECRUDO TRIBE OF TEXAS | PATRICK McGRATH MUÑIZ | TIFFANY CHUNG | FABIOLA FERRERO | VINCENT VALDEZ | MARTI CORN | STEPHENAL THAKIY | DREAM MAGICAL STUDIO: DAVID ERJOK, NANCY APIYO ALESI, ODENG CHOL AGUER, YUSIF KALO, ISTARLIN ABDI HALANE, TWITE JEAN CLAUDE, DHIEU LUAL DENG, MBARUSHIMINA SALUM, MAYA ALUEL KUR, LISALA ALPHONSE SELENGA