Sex Demons low res

Sex Demons, batik and ankara and cotton fabric, 2014


Election/Erection: Adejoke Tugbiyele

October 10 – December 13, 2014
Opening Reception October 10, 2014, 7-10 PM
Curated by Dexter Wimberly
Gallery Aferro, Main Gallery

In this exhibition Tugbiyele examines the relationship between institutional power/control and sexuality within the context of Nigeria – and in general Africa and the Diaspora.  Harking back to Foucault’s theories on the history of sexuality, she also weaves together indigenous African beliefs surrounding the body and the institution of marriage.  While confronting personal challenges as a queer woman of Nigerian heritage, she also seeks to illuminate the hardships endured by others as a result of familial pressure, religious damnation, the injustice of federal criminalization and other forms of discrimination.

Part of this exhibition thus investigates the complex role that religion continues to play in Nigeria as a powerful force governing the social fabric of many societies and how technology is used as a tool for either escape or empowerment.  Materially, she repurposes popular commodities as mediums in her work including traditional African brooms, perforated metal, thread, and wire – transforming them into small and large figurative works. As a whole Election/Erection is a presentation of sculpture, drawing, video, and mixed media works which speak collectively to violence, exile, love, and fantasy.

Adejoke Tugbiyele is a Nigerian-American sculptor and experimental video artist. She works in various mediums including wire, natural fibers, fabric, and wood. The themes in her work range from sexual identity and human rights to leadership and governance. Tugbiyele’s work has been exhibited and screened at reputable institutions both in the United States and internationally including the The Center for Contemporary Art in Lagos Nigeria, the Museum of Arts and Design, The Jewish Museum of New York, The Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw Poland, The Museum of Biblical Art, The James E. Lewis Museum of Art, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Spelman College Museum of Art and The United Nations Headquarters. She has also shown at Art Dubai 2014, the 6th Annual Joburg Art Fair in 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa and the 2014 video art fair, LOOP Barcelona, Spain and the Goethe Institute in Lagos, Nigeria. After studying and practicing as an architect, Tugbiyele went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art (2013). She is the recipient of several awards including the Fulbright U.S. Student Fellowship 2013-14, The Amalie Rothschild Award (2013) and the William M. Phillips Award for best figurative sculpture (2012) at Maryland Institute College of Art.  She has appeared/published as an artist and queer activist on CNN international, The Feminist Wire and the Huffington Post.  Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Metropolis M magazine in the Netherlands and Omenka Magazine in Lagos, Nigeria.

Tugbiyele is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Gallery Aferro. In addition to art-making, she is the Director of Studio Arts Programs at The Lower East Side Girls Club of New York where she helps mentor and empower young women through the arts.

Present Tense: Arts of Contemporary Africa

A Public Conversation with Guest Artist, Adejoke Tugbiyele
Moderated by Christa Clark, Senior Curator of the Global Arts of Africa
Newark Museum, Billy Johnson Auditorium
Sunday, November 9, 2-3 pm
Program co-presented by the Newark Museum and Gallery Aferro
Performance and reception to follow at Gallery Aferro, 3:30-6 pm
Tours of the exhibition Election/Erection: A solo exhibition of recent works by Adejoke Tugbiyele will be presented by Guest Curator Dexter Wimberly at Gallery Aferro

Featuring works from the Museum’s permanent collection of contemporary African art, this gallery is the first such dedicated exhibition space in the country. The installation focuses on the art of the present day, including works by nine artists with wide-ranging approaches to “art-making” as well as equally varied subject matter and sources of inspiration.

Together, they provide a window into the ongoing artistic creativity of this dynamic continent, complementing the adjacent thematic installation of African art while encouraging connections with other examples of contemporary art featured in the museum’s American art, Asian art and Decorative Arts galleries. Coinciding with the exhibition at Gallery Aferro, the Newark Museum will highlight examples of politically engaged works in the museum’s galleries devoted to the arts of global Africa. Highlights include a 1980s anti-apartheid work by South African artist Sue Williamson, a photograph by Zanele Muholi from her series of portraits of the LGBT community in South Africa, and a printed textile dress made to protest female circumcision in Mali. Also featured will be AFRIKEA, an earlier work by Ade Tugbiyele whose art is the focus of the Gallery Aferro exhibition. Visit for details

AfroOdyssey IV: 100 Years Later

Performance by Olushola A. Cole
Sunday November 9th, 3:30pm

A daughter of Nigerian and Caribbean parents, Olushola A. Cole was born in the United Kingdom. Cole’s work is infused with multidisciplinary materials and methods, bridging the world of theater, place making and visual art. Her body of work Jenny.Was.A.Pirate.Hater uses sculpture, photography, sound, video, drawing, performance and installation. These mediums, along with the emergence of her alter ego Pirate Jenny, explore motifs of identity while serving to create an expressive, interdisciplinary and socio-political look at the Golden Age of Pirates intersection with the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Projects and current collaborations include co-producing and performing in the experimental film project AfroOdyssey III, screened at the Jewish Museum of New York’s  Sights and Sounds: Global Film and Video Series (2013) ; AfroOdyssey IV : 100 years later at the Goethe Institut’s Black to the Future exhibition and  LOOP ’14 international film festival in Barcelona  (2014).  Classical training in piano, trombone, movement and voice has laid strong foundations for performances withCarnegie Hall’s McFerrin Instant Opera Concert (2008) Jacobs Pillow’s Hip Hop Cultural Traditions Dance Program (2009) and with the off-Broadway hit STOMP.Embodied inquiry into physical theater, yoga, Gaga, Alexander Technique, contact improvisation, ballet and modern dance underwrite Cole’s belief in a community’s ability to positively change their environment through movement. Studies of social rebellion and forays into social movements such as house dance, samba, West African dance, hip-hop, tango and capoeira – have propelled Cole to always seek the various connection between the creative code of oppressed groups and their oppressive environments. Cole graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of General Studies, minoring in Women’s Studies. She performs with the Elm City Dance Collective and also facilitates her  Body Vocality Improv Workshops . Cole is a proud collective member/owner of the anarchist project Red Emma’s Bookstore and Coffeehouse. She is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at  Mount Royal School of Art  at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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No More Place:
A group show about the degradation / disassociation of personal, domestic and cultural geographies.

October 10 – October 19, 2014
Opening Reception October 10, 2014, 6-10 PM
93 Market Street

Featuring work by: Anna Ablogina, Hannes Bend, Patricia Dominguez, Glenn, Fischer, Shanti Grumbine, Nicholas Hamilton, Samantha Holmes, Maria Hupfield, Tatiana Istomina, Tasha Lewis, Eleen Lin, Sharon S. Ma, Julie Nymann, Mitch Paster, Gamaliel Rodriguez, Sarah Rowe, Catherine Telfod-Keogh, David Gregory Wallace, Didier William, Brian Zegeer

No More Place includes video installations, sculpture, photography, drawings, paintings, paper cuts, ceramic sculptures and paper collage by various artists from the New York area who met through the Bronx Museums’s Artist-in-the-Marketplace program in spring 2014. Our work interrogates the break-down of spaces, structures or hierarchies in our modern world.

We are questioning what it means to be placed, to have place, to be ranked, to have a certain identity, to be stable, to have a viewpoint, a location, an orientation. We use various media to respond to new technologies, personal and cultural narratives and environmental shifts. No More Space evokes an unmapped identity, displacement and over-crowding but we are also interested in objects/identities that exist in a realm beyond space— in light, ink, mathematics, or new cultural frontiers.

Image: Mitch Paster

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EmergeNEXT: Windows on Market

October 10 – January 1, 2014
Opening Reception October 10, 2014, 7-10 PM
Curated by Jaishri Abichandani and Kalia Brooks
77 Market Street

On October 10, 2014, Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art and Gallery Aferro will proudly present EmergeNEXT: Windows on Market Street. The project features two new installations by artists Mary A. Valverde and Jayson Keeling, curated by Jaishri Abichandani and Kalia Brooks. An opening reception celebrating the public art initiative will be held at 77 Market Street from 7 to 10pm.

“EmergeNEXT: Windows on Market” is a collaborative series developed with Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art and Gallery Aferro. Previous Fellows from Aljira’s Emerge program are chosen by a guest curator to develop new work that activates the unique private /public storefront window spaces on Market Street. Each artist is encouraged to explore the idea of INSIDE OUT | OUTSIDE IN or propose something altogether new.

“Protect Me From All the Measures They Take In Order to Protect Me” is an installation by Jayson Keeling curated by Kalia Brooks to envision and facilitate an installation for Windows on Market. Keeling’s installation turns the window front into a camera obscura designed to project the activity on the street at the intersection of Market and Washington Streets. Keeling is employing one of the oldest forms of optical technology with a contemporary form of image making to provide the pedestrians along Market Street a new perspective of their everyday space.

“Triumph (not televised)” is an installation by Mary A. Valverde curated by Jaishri Abichandani. Valverde creates installations reminiscent of sacred spaces and material offerings. The works propose relationships between the forms, marks and measurements that intend to diagram the visceral. In our attempt to learn, we revisit, retrace and repeat lessons until they become intrinsic gestures; our lives are a constant replaying of these lessons. We surround ourselves with materials that remind us of them, materials often charged with the residue of our intentions and the remnants of our actions. Valverde’s work is driven by creative research. It is the chronicling, indexing and archiving of patterns to examine the ways in which they empower space, the body and the psyche. She is interested in the systemic arrangements of objects, sounds and textures as manifested through the experience of music, materials and memories both within the individual and society.

EmergeNEXT is an initiative to continue engaging with Emerge fellows by offering advanced professional development opportunities, continued career guidance and solo project space to Emerge fellows further along in their careers. The EmergeNEXT exhibition opportunity is conceptualized as a project room without a formal curatorial role and serves to recognize and showcase the progress and development of Emerge Fellows as artists.

Gallery Aferro’s “Activate: Market Street,” is a new, year-round public art project transforming hundreds of linear feet of vacant storefront windows in Newark’s historic downtown district. Storefronts owned by RBH Group on Market Street between Washington and University Streets are activated with installations, films, animation, neon sculptures, kinetic and interactive art, and performative public programming from local, national and international artists. Supported by RBH Group, and created by Gallery Aferro, the project delivers arresting, unexpected, and highly memorable experiences with contemporary art directly to the public, whether residents, students, workers or first-time visitors.