Kambui Olujimi: Solastalgia
Curator-Mentor: Hank Willis Thomas
On view at CUE Art Foundation April 7 – May 12, 2016.
CUE is proud to present a solo exhibition of new works by artist and Brooklyn native Kambui Olujimi, curated by Hank Willis Thomas. The exhibition, entitled "Solastalgia," includes large-scale sculptures, serigraphs and paintings. The works in the show reside at the intersection of numerous issues of current concern to the artist: the state of his city and the nation including gentrification, police killings (both by the police and the killing of police), as well as the challenges of commemoration and loss.
The term solastalgia was coined by Australian philosopher, Glenn Albrecht in 2003. Essentially it is the feeling of homesickness when one is still home. “Solastalgia is when your endemic sense of place is being violated,” Albrecht describes. Though the term originally references the psychological displacement of farmers due to climate change, Olujimi employs it as a lens to examine the psychoterratica of the five boroughs as a result of a different kind of environmental change.
Oscillating between the private and public, Olujimi grapples with the loss of his mentor and guardian angel, Catherine Arline, amidst the cacophony of actions and emotions that has marred the city’s law enforcement over the past year. Arline was a civil servant for the city and state of New York for over 40 years and continued to serve her community of Bedford-Stuyvesant after her retirement as the president and member of various councils and associations locally and throughout the city. Much of her later work attempted to bridge the divide between police and communities they serve. Over the past year and half the world watched as a string of unfathomable events unfolded in New York City; the non-indictment decision in the Eric Garner killing, the shooting of Officers Liu and Ramos and the public display of disdain by law enforcement for the Mayor during the funerals of two their own, and the unprecedented police work stoppage. In addition to these and other recent events, the works of "Solastalgia" grow out of interviews Olujimi has conducted with current and retired member the NYPD, community leaders, Arline herself, and his own struggle to convey what words cannot.
Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Kambui Olujimi received his BFA from Parsons School of Design, NY and MFA from Columbia University, NY. He has had solo exhibitions at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, MA; apexart, NY and Art in General, NY. His works have premiered nationally at Sundance Film Festival, Park City, UT; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY and The Museum of Modern Art, NY. Internationally he has exhibited at The Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, Thailand; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland and Para Site, Hong Kong. Olujimi has been awarded residencies from Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, ME; apexart, NY; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NY; Civitella Ranieri, Italy and Fountainhead, FL, among others. He has received grants and fellowships from A Blade of Grass, The Jerome Foundation, and Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Numerous periodicals, newspapers and journals have written about Olujimi’s work, including The New Yorker, Art Forum, Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, The New York Times and Modern Painters.