Bukola Koiki

Nationale: Through the lens of ‘Foreigners’

At Nationale gallery, Modou Dieng, Bukola Koiki, Victor Maldonado, and Angelica Millán explore the complexity of the immigrant experience

By MACK CARLISLE

The four artists in the Foreigners exhibition at Nationale gallery explore the duality of life as a foreigner: of belonging to more than one culture, of finding sense and the personal in the complex and ever-shifting American culture. There is no singular American experience. Since colonization, the United States has been a landing pad for people seeking something new, as well as those brought forcibly through the slave trade. And yet it is only recently that the artworld has begun to show notable interest in the diversity of its makers, evidenced by statistics on the race and gender of artists represented in galleries, art fairs, and museums, or in the segregation of museums.

The decisions gallerists and curators make about who will be shown and who is deserving of the public eye are slowly changing, but they are changing, and I would like to believe that the white male monopoly on the art world is crumbling. In this moment, when simply existing and demanding to be seen can be a political action, these four artists convey the sense that although origin is not a singularly defining feature, it impacts the overall experience of life, and as such is carried and displayed in every step.

Foreigners
Nationale, 3360 SE Division St.
On view through November 13, 2016
Modou Dieng, Bukola Koiki, Victor Maldonado, and Angelica Millán

There are few symbols of political place more widely understood than flags. Modou Dieng has painted a European flag in black, white, and gold—the original blue and yellow scarcely evident beneath the surface. The obscuring of specific areas creates a new flag, one with black and white stars, and a subtle window-like grid. The title “Goodbye Blue Sky…” refers to the blue of the flag, which represents the sky by design.

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