Existential Crisis showcases the captivating filmography of contemporary filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu. The presentation includes five films of varying lengths, which subtly weave together fiction, parable, and autobiographical experiences. These works embody the artist’s response to popular culture, tensions evolving from the African diaspora and dispersion of cultural tradition, while recapitulating methods of traditional storytelling.
Much of Owusu’s works address what she describes as the ‘warring consciousness,’ where the African immigrant located in the United States has a triple consciousness. This triple consciousness includes; in the African Diaspora having to assimilate in white American culture in order to succeed in American society; second the African immigrant is often grouped and identified with African Americans in the eyes of others mostly because of a shared skin color; and third, many Africans do not always identify with African American culture and history; they are distinct. Owusu recounts feeling suspended in a constant out-of-body experience and moving through the world as spectacle. African in America and American in Africa, through her work, she seeks to locate a space between the two worlds that she can call home.
Owusu’s films posses a rhythmic pace and quality, which allows the viewer to experience the anxiety between these identities. She hopes that with her films she will open audiences up to a new dialogue between the continents of Africa and America; one that incorporates more than just stereotypes, but includes both conventionalized and un-conventionalized discourse on race in its service. By creating complex contradictions, she advances new meaning that can be deposited into universal consciousness and societal framework.
Existential Crisis is organized by RAC and curated by Jovan C. Speller, Curator, Art and Education.