What You Need to Know: Montague Contemporary has partnered with NYC Culture Club to present “We Contain Multitudes,” on view through January 15 at NYC Culture Club in the Oculus at the World Trade Center. The show features the work of seven women artists of color: Jessica Atieno, Prudence Chimutuwah, Angèle Etoundi Essamba, Muna Malik, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Florence Wangui, and Beatrice Wanjiku. Presenting mediums ranging from textiles to photography to painting by both early- and mid-career artists, the exhibition is a testament to the vision and range of these creators in an industry largely dominated by men. The show is organized by Laura Day Webb, an independent curator and art consultant whose curatorial practice focuses on under-recognized contemporary art and artists—with an emphasis on women and African artists—operating outside the traditional Western canon.
Why We Like It: “We Contain Multitudes” is a veritable treasure trove of contemporary art whose breadth of styles, mediums, and techniques highlight the individual artists’ work as well as their collective power. The exhibition also delves into such pertinent themes as identity, belonging, heritage, and womanhood. In Jessica Atieno’s work, a range of historical materials act as a starting point from which to create new models of representation in a post-colonial context. Elsewhere, Florence Wangui creates contemplative portraits rife with symbolism to convey an internal, psychological world.
According to the Curator: “In thinking about this exhibition, I wanted to showcase and celebrate the breadth of artistry created by women of color in a historically male-dominated arena by incorporating works from artists at varying points in their careers and utilizing a wide array of mediums and styles. The title of the show, ‘We Contain Multitudes,’ is a reference to the complexity and dimensionality of women that transcends the societal silos we often find ourselves relegated to based on factors like age and fertility. Throughout the works exhibited, the artists examine multifaceted perceptions and experiences of identity, belonging, and womanhood, and their relationship to cultural heritage and the contemporary world.” —Laura Day Webb
See inside the exhibition and featured works below.