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States of Becoming — Curatorial Discussion


October 26, 2023, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Location: Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC)

A surreal-looking piece of artwork includes a brass instrument with hair coming out of its bell

In conjunction with the exhibition States of Becoming, curated by Fitsum Shebeshe and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture presents a conversation with the curator and Jessica Bell Brown, curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The discussion, moderated by Rhea Beckett, founding director at Black Artist Research Space, will focus on curatorial approaches to African diasporic experience and migration.

Fitsum Shebeshe is a curator and painter based in Baltimore and Washington D.C., and curator of States of Becoming, touring with Independent Curators International. Before moving to the United States in 2016, he was Assistant Curator at the National Museum of Ethiopia. In 2012, Shebeshe co-founded the 1957 Initiative to annually celebrate the liberation of African countries from colonialism through the arts.

Jessica Bell Brown is the Curator and Department Head for Contemporary Art at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Prior to the BMA she was the Consulting Curator at Gracie Mansion Conservancy in New York, and also held roles at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Creative Time. She is curator of the touring exhibition A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, co-organized with the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Rhea Beckett is an artist, independent curator, and educator whose practice centers on knowledge sharing and collaboration. She co-founded the creative platform Black Artist Research Space (BARS) and is currently a professor of African American art history at Fisk University and the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she teaches in the MFA in Curatorial Practice program.

Admission is free.

States of Becoming examines the dynamic forces of relocation, resettling, and assimilation that shape the artistic practices of a group of 17 contemporary African artists who have lived and worked in the United States within the last three decades, and informs the discourse on identity construction within the African Diaspora.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Gabriel C. Amadi-Emina, Kearra Amaya Gopee, Kibrom Araya, Nadia Ayari, Vamba Bility, Elshafei Dafalla, Masimba Hwati, Chido Johnson, Miatta Kawinzi, Dora King, Helina Metaferia, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Yvonne Osei, Kern Samuel, Amare Selfu, Tariku Shiferaw, and Yacine Tilala Fall.

States of Becoming is a traveling exhibition curated by Fitsum Shebeshe and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. Lead funding is provided by the Hartfield Foundation as part of an initiative to support ICI’s commitment to new curatorial voices who will shape the future of the field, and ICI’s Curatorial Intensive alumni as they move through the stages of their career. States of Becoming is made possible with the generous support of ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum. Crozier Fine Arts is the Preferred Art Logistics Partner. Exhibition graphics by Untitled Agency, Marrakech.

Visitor Information

Admission is free. Parking for the curatorial discussion is free, and nearby the CADVC. Please visit here for directions and parking information.

Independent Curators International

Independent Curators International (ICI) supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement. Curators are arts community leaders and organizers who champion artistic practice, build essential infrastructures and institutions, and generate public engagement with art. Our collaborative programs connect curators across generations and across social political and cultural borders. They form an international framework for sharing knowledge and resources and for promoting cultural exchange, access to art, and public awareness of the curator’s role.

Logos that say ICI, Crozier, Hartfield Foundation

Image: Masimba Hwati, Rückspiegel 2, 2021, found materials. Courtesy the artist.



October 26, 2023
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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