An Exhibition of International Video Art
July 22 – September 23, 2017
Reception: Saturday, July 22, 2–5pm
Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah and Dexter Wimberly

August 5, 2017 3–5pm

Join us for an in-depth discussion with the artists
and curators of Comm | Alt | Shift

COMM | ALT | SHIFT includes the work of 14 contemporary artists who use video to explore the complexities and angst of modern times. The exhibition’s title references keyboard shortcuts or a sequence or combination of keystrokes on a computer that lead to various, yet specified outcomes. COMM | ALT | SHIFT unpacks video as a ubiquitous technology for entertainment, education and escape, as well as a powerful tool for surveillance, manipulation and control.Participating artists include Carlos Aires, Bolo (Saks Afridi and Qinza Najm), Delphine Fawundu, Genevieve Gaignard, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, George Jenne, Miatta Kawinzi, Lin Ke, Jen Liu, Jillian Mayer, Nontsikelelo Mutiti and Dyani Douze, Federico Solmi, Jan Staller, and Rodrigo Valenzuela.

In Carlos Aires’ Sweet Dreams are made of this we find two policemen in anti-riot gear, dancing the Tango to a version of the famous 1984 song, “Sweet Dreams,” by the British group, Eurhythmics. Recorded in the ballroom of the Museo Cerralbo, in Madrid, Aires’ video was inspired by protests against the Spanish government for corruption, as well as the violent response by the Spanish police.

Delphine Fawundu’s the cleanse, an intense yet meditative work, appropriates text from a variety of sources including authors Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and James Baldwin, as well as The Holy Bible and The Holy Quran. Rodrigo Valenzuela’s Prole probes the working-class mindset, depicting a once unified factory soccer team that has gone on strike—their problems exacerbated by a mix of office politics, game misunderstandings, and personal issues.

Carousel, a work by the multidisciplinary artist duo Bolo (Saks Afridi & Qinza Najm), questions the duplicity of rhetoric in dictatorships and democracies, alluding to patterns of power cycles and ascendancy in human nature and human history. Genevieve Gaignard’s Missing You, a video fraught with melancholy, portrays the artist as Diana Ross whose song is spliced with radio chatter from recent police killings of African Americans.


Larry Ossei-Mensah is a Ghanaian-American independent curator and cultural critic who has documented contemporary art happenings for various publications including NeueJournal, Uptown and Whitewall Magazine. His writings have profiled some of the most dynamic visual artists working today—Derrick Adams, Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Wiley, Lorna Simpson and street artist JR. As a curator, Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art and culture as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. He has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe featuring a roster of critically acclaimed artists including Firelei Baez, ruby amanze, Hugo McCloud, Brendan Fernandes, and Derek Fordjour to name a few. Recently, Ossei-Mensah was named the 2017 Critic-in Residence at ART OMI in addition to serving as Co-Chair on Russell Simmons’ RUSH Artist Advisory Board and a member of MoMA’s Friends of Education.

Aljira’s Executive Director, Dexter Wimberly organizes exhibitions that explore contemporary culture, American history, economics, and power dynamics. A passionate supporter of the arts, Wimberly has exhibited the work of hundreds of artists internationally. During his decade-long career, he has organized exhibitions and programs at dozens of museums and galleries including the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) Raleigh, The California African American Museum, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), 101/EXHIBIT gallery, Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, bitforms gallery, Koki Arts gallery (Tokyo), and The Third Line Gallery (Dubai).

Images, top to bottom: Genevieve Gaingnard, Missing You, Courtesy of Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles; Carlos Aires, Sweet Dreams are made of this, Courtesy of the artist; Delphine Fawundu, the cleanse, Courtesy of the artist; Rodrigo Valenzuela, Prole, Courtesy of the artist

Aljira is grateful to sponsor PSEG for its support of Comm | Alt | Shift.




Kate Stone: Every Straight Line is the
Arc of a Great Circle

February 4–April 15, 2017
Now Extended thru April 22, 2017
ARTIST TALK: Saturday, April 22, 2017, 3pm

Alluding to the changes brought about by gentrification, renovation and development, Every Straight Line is the Arc of a Great Circle is a mixed media work that resembles a house under construction. The installation contains one small, fully finished room that must be entered and exited through a maze of wood studs. Layers of time—past, present and future are interwoven, creating subtle architectural anachronisms. The fresh wood of the unfinished maze alludes to a future yet to be built, while the complete room in the middle has the markings of a worn, lived-in space. Indentations in the carpet recall the presence of furniture and people. Fragments of drywall are artifacts of another time that have been ripped from their origins and misplaced here in the present, as ruins. The single photograph hanging in the room serves as a record of the past and provides clues to an ambiguous narrative about time, place and the traces people leave behind.

Kate Stone (b, 1988 Philadelphia, PA) is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist. She received a BA in Photography from Bard College in 2009 and an MFA from Parsons the New School for Design in 2013. Her work is a response to the way we relate to space and it challenges associations we have with familiar architectural structures. Her sculptures, drawings and photographs exist in an intersection of order and disorder, creation and destruction, two-dimensions and three. She was a recipient of the Tierney Fellowship in 2009 and has exhibited at The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Eleni Koroneou Gallery, bitforms gallery, FiveMyles, Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, among others.



KONTROLLE, the First U.S. Solo Exhibition of
German Artist, Dominik Halmer

February 4–April 15, 2017
Now Extended thru April 22, 2017
ARTIST TALK: Saturday, April 22, 2017, 3pm

Aljira is proud to present KONTROLLE, the first U.S. solo exhibition of German artist, Dominik Halmer and Every Straight Line is the Arc of a Great Circle—a site specific installation by Brooklyn-based artist, Kate Stone.

Dominik Halmer’s practice centers on the question of how our individual image of “reality” is constructed. Coming from an analytical but sensual approach to painting, Halmer works with the collision of different realities. In his so called “semi-functional image-objects,” we find canvases combined with everyday objects. Based on formal analogies, Halmer creates a subtle coherence between painting and objects and transforms their specific function into a poetic state of being. Through experimental arrangements, Halmer explores the relationship between object and depiction, functionality and art. By confronting the traditional concept of painting with pragmatic values and suggesting a playful usage of the artwork, he also undermines ideas of the untouchable exclusivity of art.

Organized by Dexter Wimberly, KONTROLLE presents a series of works integrating equipment from sports. These items, which are already part of a complex set of imagery and values, address the observer in an immediate way by challenging a reflexive mental reaction. By opening an associative space, on a more abstract level, they play with predominant ideas of accomplishment and systems of evaluation within our society. The title of the exhibition, KONTROLLE, refers to human desire to actively design and control the conditions of an increasingly unstable world.

Dominik Halmer (b. 1978 Munich, Germany) currently lives and works in Berlin. He studied fine arts at the Academy in Düsseldorf with Albert Oehlen and later with Heimo Zobernig in Vienna. He has been awarded several grants and will have a large solo presentation in the Museum of Arts Wiesbaden in 2018.



Zachary Fabri: From the Wolf to the Fox

Organized by Dexter Wimberly
October 15, 2016–January 15, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 15, 2016 2­–5pm

Zachary Fabri’s artistic practice seeks to create a space for discourse around social and political systems of oppression through artworks that manifest in a range of mediums, including drawing, performance, photography, sculpture, and video. Continually investigating the movement and politics of the body, Fabri’s work incites viewers to locate themselves as “insider” or “outsider.” Fabri often meditates on the memory and weight of history; the ideologies and beliefs that define us. His works offer reminders of the ideas that shape identity―exploring its limits and possible transformations.

Zachary Fabri was born in Miami, Florida and currently lives in Brooklyn. He received a Bachelor of Fine Art in graphic design from the New World School of the Arts, Miami, in 2000, and later relocated to New York City to receive a MFA from Hunter College in 2007. Fabri’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally at Sequences Real-time Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland; the Nordic Biennale: Momentum, Moss, Norway; Gallery Open, Berlin; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Art in General, and the Bindery Projects. He has been awarded the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in interdisciplinary work, and most recently The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award.

Images at right, top to bottom:

Zachary Fabri
Red Handed, 2010 (detail)
Digital c print
Photo credit: Gabriella Araujo

Zachary Fabri
lorem ipsum Edward Wilmont Blyden 1887 (Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race), mounted vinyl installation, dimensions variable.

Zachary Fabri,
Richard Pryor
from the series Aerola (Black Presidents), digital print.




Un | Fixed Homeland

July 17—September 17, 2016*
Opening Reception: Sunday, July 17, 2016, 2–5pm
Guest Curator: Grace Aneiza Ali, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Curatorial Fellow
*Extended thru September 23!

Artists (working in):
Canada: Erika DeFreitas, Sandra Brewster
Guyana: Khadija Benn, Michael Lam, Karran Sahadeo
United Kingdom: Frank Bowling, Roshini Kempadoo, Hew Locke
United States: Kwesi Abbensetts, Marlon Forrester, Donald Locke (1930 – 2010), Maya Mackrandilal, Keisha Scarville.Un | Fixed Homeland brings together an inter-generational roster of thirteen emerging and established Guyanese artists who, via photography and photography-based art, examine the complex relationship to “homeland.” These artists explore how a “homeland” can be both fixed and unfixed, a constantly shifting idea and memory, and a physical place and a psychic space. The exhibition’s title reflects the emergence of the Caribbean diaspora in metropolitan cities around the world and speaks to what has become the defining global movement of the 21st century – migration.

Guyana, the only English-speaking South American country and former British colony, celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence this year. The past five decades have been marked by an incredible exodus of its citizens – the country has a population of approximately 750,000 living within its borders and over one million living in the diaspora. In other words, more Guyanese citizens live outside the nation than within it. To reflect this reality, featured in the exhibition are artists living and working in Guyana as well as in major diasporic cities throughout Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In New York, in particular, Guyanese are the city’s fifth largest immigrant population.

Among the works included is Amalivaca, a self-portraiture piece by Khadija Benn who lives and works in Guyana. She exploits the exotic by inserting her body in a painterly landscape as acts of agency and ownership of place. Hew Locke, who was raised in Guyana and now lives and works in London, has painted photographs of houses, titled Rose Hall and Mt. Sinai, which are reminiscent of the ones familiar to his childhood. In his rendition, they are falling apart and symbolically flooded. Keisha Scarville, a New York City-based artist born to Guyanese immigrants, reinterprets her father’s passport photo as a young boy in British Guiana in the mixed-media Passport series. The Toronto-based artist Erika DeFreitas elicits her Guyana-born mother in a series of documented performative actions where the two hand-fashion face masks out of green, yellow, and purple icing in the portraiture piece, The Impossible Speech Act. Frank Bowling, who was born in British Guiana in 1934 and now lives and works in London and New York City, screen printed an archival 1953 photograph of his mother’s house onto his canvas Mother’s House with Beware of the Dog – an artistic gesture charged with the memory of homeland.

While specifically focused on the visual culture and new modes of viewing Guyana, the exhibition also frames Guyana, “fixed or unfixed homeland,” as symbolic of larger pressing global concerns of our 21st century — the tensions between place and placeless-ness, nationality and belonging, immigrant and citizen.

About the Curator
“This project is deeply personal,” says curator Grace Aneiza Ali, who is Guyanese-born and currently lives in New York City. As an Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Curatorial Fellow, Ali has spent her fellowship researching the canon of contemporary Guyanese artists, which still remains largely unknown on the world stage. Instead, what the global public often sees of the visual culture of Guyana centers on the exotic, the tropical, the colonial, and the touristic. “In Un|Fixed Homeland we’ve brought together artists who share a collective agenda to counter this historic malpractice by challenging, disrupting, manipulating, and, at times intentionally exploiting, the ‘picturing paradise’ motif often associated with the region,” says Ali.

Grace Aneiza Ali is a faculty member in the Department of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and the Editorial Director of OF NOTE —an award-winning online magazine on art and activism. Her essays on contemporary art and photography have been published in Nueva Luz Journal, Small Axe Journal, among others. Highlights of her curatorial work include Guest Curator for the 2014 Addis Foto Fest; Guest Curator of the Fall 2013 Nueva Luz Photographic Journal; and Host of the ‘Visually Speaking’ photojournalism series at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center. Ali is a World Economic Forum ‘Global Shaper’ and Fulbright Scholar. She holds an M.A. in Africana Studies from New York University and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Images at right, from top to bottom:

Khadija Benn
Amalivaca, 2012
Archival pigment print on canvas
48 x 32 in.
Courtesy of the Artist

Frank Bowling
Mother’s House with Beware of the Dog, 1966
Acrylic on canvas
57 x 47 1/2 in.
Courtesy of the Artist and Hales London New York

Hew Locke
Rose Hall, 2014
Acrylic on c-type photograph
32 1/8 x 48 1/8 in.
Courtesy of the Artist and Hales London New York
Copyright of the Artist
Photograph by Charlie Littlewood

Keisha Scarville
Untitled, from the Passport series, 2012 – 2016
Mixed media
2 1/4 x 2 1/4 in.
Courtesy of the Artist

Erika DeFreitas
The Impossible Speech Act, 2007
Digital photography
40 x 40 in.
On loan from The Canada Council for the Arts, Art Bank

Kwesi Abbensetts
My Dreams Talk About A Place (left) and You Booked Your Passage (right) from the series Pieces of Land, From Where I Have Come From, 2016
Mixed media, painting, and photography on canvas
8 x 10 in.
Courtesy of the artist