Join The Delaware Contemporary on June 4th (during First Friday) from 5-8pm for the opening of Meleko Mokgosi’s latest exhibition, on display June 4th, 2021 to December 31st.
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.
In the large black-and-white image on the West Street side of the exterior, a quotation from the Ugandan writer Doreen Baingana addresses the environmental consequence of colonialism and anchors an image of a young man on horseback. The composition provides a striking contrast to the militarized and mounted white men that American viewers have come to expect as the subject of equestrian monuments.
Mokgosi’s interest in colliding Southern African imagery with both the historical and recent context of the United States continues in another banner, which positions an image of a guard dog at nearly street level. The dog is standing in a gated yard surrounding a typical middle class Southern African home. However, the barbed metal fence and German Shepherd may conjure different, complicated associations of vigilance and violence to American viewers who, faced with occurrences of excessive and deadly use of force by police against Black people, must ask profound questions about how we achieve protection and safety for all in our country.
A final banner presents a seated boy and the projection of the man in militant clothes 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 solidarity 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.
Meleko Mokgosi (born 1981, Francistown, Botswana) is a co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Art and Theory Program and Associate Professor at Yale University. In 2021, his work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, and he has also had recent one-person exhibitions at The Baltimore Museum of Art; the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Smart Museum of Art at The University of Chicago; and the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor. His work has been recognized with an award from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Hammer Museum’s Mohn Award, and a residency at The Studio Museum in Harlem.
Curated by Kristen Hileman
For more information on how to attend, check out the Delaware Contemporary’s website!