5 New Showcases at The Delaware Contemporary in the Summer 2021 "IDENTIFY" Series
This summer, The Delaware Contemporary serves as a space for cultural conversation through the presentation of exhibitions that construct a community-based dialog. Each of the five showcases explore both the inherited aspects of identity and the external barriers that encourage conformity. Each exhibition examines the versatility of the human condition while speaking to the cultural framework that either enables or hinders the expression of this condition. Through this lens, the overall works speak to either autobiographical material or personal exploration into the contemporary systems and structures that shape individual identities.
The following exhibitions are open now and can be seen at The Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington during standard hours. Some exhibits have online supplements. Most will remain on display until August.
Across the three banners created for The Delaware Contemporary, Meleko Mokgosi takes viewers from an outdoor scene through a domestic threshold as he brings together references to Southern Africa and expressions of Pan-Africanism in the United States.
One banner presents a seated boy and the projection of the man in militant clothes that he may grow to be, foreshadowing the struggle that lies ahead. A series of inspiring posters invoking the American civil rights moments (including a 1967 speech by activist James Forman) and visions of love and unity line the wall behind the boy. The poster proclaiming “The Future Is Beige” was designed by Mokgosi and is available for free distribution in The Delaware Contemporary’s lobby.
Our family history goes beyond the names and dates we find in our family tree. It’s about what makes us who we are, and the people with whom we can form deep connections. Our history gives us a sense of identity, enables cultural connections, and promotes tradition. It’s about the resilience of people who have lived and breathed and suffered and triumphed before us. Our family history informs our medical and mental health. It inspires compassion, greater understanding, and empathy for others. Family History asks us to question our position within society. It affects our progress and growth, and explores how we alter our identity to conform and assimilate within cultural constructs. Family History asks us to decide: What is family?
Yikui (Coy) Gu
The Americans represents an autobiographical exploration of the artist Yikui (Coy) Gu, his wife, and their immigrant Chinese-German marriage. As the central theme throughout the work, Gu injects the viewer directly into their personal narrative, revealing intimate moments and essential truths. The layering of visual information through paint, stock imagery, and everyday objects creates a rich depth of provocative storytelling. Gu’s playful incorporation of popular culture, political reference, and personal experience allows for both immediate relevance and cultural commentary.
Unapologetic Conversations of Hair & Nonconformity brings attention to the past discriminatory practices that have threatened to remove people of color from professional opportunities. Systemic prejudices have historically limited access to opportunities due to nonconformity to cultural standards that promote discriminatory practices towards natural and true, authentic selves. Through personal narrative and artistic practice, the ten artists showcased here promote conversations around identity, access, discrimination, and conformity through the celebration of authenticity and pride in one’s natural being.
GIVE ME MY FLOWERS
“Don’t wait until I am dead to give me my flowers.”
Through a series of images, artist Shakira Hunt presents “masculinity” through many different lenses. Give Me My Flowers challenges the stereotyped idea of masculinity, how it is perceived as being void of emotional sensitivity and vulnerability, and how it is often displayed through a tough exterior. This series embodies creative storytelling, bold and intentional imagery, and subtle connections to create a relatable experience that recognizes and honors black and afro indigenous men, both straight and individuals of the LGBTQ+ community.
More information about the showcases, including specific dates and special programming, can be found at https://www.decontemporary.org/exhibitions.