Exhibition
Through December 2

Maliyamungu Gift Muhande: Kobikisa

The International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) presents Kobikisa, an exhibition of new work by Maliyamungu Gift Muhande, recipient of The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund residency at ISCP. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, raised there and in South Africa, and now based in New York City, Muhande investigates her identity, Blackness, and diasporic history through diverse media including film, painting, drawing, sculpture, performance, and social practice. Translated as “to heal” in Lingala, Kobikisa features an immersive video installation and a series of large-scale works on paper that create a space of healing and self-empowerment in ISCP’s first floor project space. The presentation is curated by Lauren Wolchik.

The centerpiece, or altar, of the exhibition is an intimate video projection of Muhande receiving acupuncture and massage treatments at the Life Wellness Center in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. She considers the treatments to be collaborative acts of artmaking, charged by shared ancestral experiences: Black women exchanging Black tenderness in order to heal one another. Muhande’s documentation of the sessions grew out of a desire to see her “Black flesh, Black body, Black physique being held tenderly by another—and not just any other, but another Black woman” on screen. Muhande aims to normalize and celebrate images of Black trust, tenderness, and healing.

The film installation is experienced in a counterclockwise sequence, in opposition to the direction enslaved African people were forced to walk around the “Tree of Oblivion” in Benin before boarding transatlantic ships. Colonial slave traders enacted this ritual to try to make their captives forget their origins. The “Tree of Oblivion” is further alluded to in Muhande’s Body Prints, works on paper mounted to wood panels that stand against the gallery walls, surrounding the video installation. These terracotta-colored tempera paintings are created through literal self-embraces and reference an ancestral Congolese ceremony that uses clay. Muhande further defines her own figure with meandering ink lines drawn counterclockwise, a meditative practice that recalls tree rings and records the passing of time.

Of these works the artist explains, “In the process of reconnecting to my roots, digging for what the colonists attempted to erase, this healing practice—body painting with clay—came to me intuitively. I was delighted that my mother, upon seeing the works for the first time, recognized in my process a traditional coming-of-age ritual for young women in the Congo. So now I see that just as the body holds trauma, it also holds ancestral truths, memories, and rituals. By listening to my body’s wisdom, I discovered an artistic modality that brings me joy by connecting me with my lineage.”

Maliyamungu Gift Muhande is a quadrilingual (Swahili, Lingala, French, English) Congolese artist, filmmaker, and educator based in New York. Her work explores the global history of the African diaspora at the intersection of anti-colonialism and artistic creativity. Muhande’s documentary film about NYC street photographer Louis Mendes, Nine Days a Week, was screened at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and 2020 Doc NYC festival, and selected by the 2020 National Board of Review. By documenting stories from communities of African descent, she creates an historical archive for use by future generations. She has exhibited her artwork in New York City and beyond, and is currently a Sundance Producer Summit Fellow and artist-in-residence at Jacob Burns Film Center. Additionally, Muhande is a part-time faculty member at Parsons School of Design. Muhande was an artist-in-residence at ISCP and Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellow in 2022.

Lauren Wolchik is an independent curator, producer, and the founder of GLORIA’S, a project space in lower Manhattan that showcases work by underrepresented artists in New York City and beyond. Wolchik is currently the Exhibitions Manager at PACE, New York, and was previously the Exhibitions & Production Manager at David Zwirner, Studio Manager for David Byrne and Lawrence Weiner, and Production Office Manager across New York City venues including Central Park Summerstage, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and Carnegie Hall. She has produced events at institutions including MoMA PS1 and Pioneer Works, was a Guest Curator at the Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency in 2019, and an artist-in-residence at Silent Barn in 2015. Additionally, she was an artist for the Biden for President Campaign and performed in the Performa 19 Biennial. Wolchik lives and works in New York City.

Maliyamungu Gift Muhande: Kobikisa is supported by The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; Hartfield Foundation; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; New York City Council District 33; New York City Council District 34; New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Legislature; and William Talbott Hillman Foundation.

Additional support has been provided by San Francisco Foundation; Living Ritual; Robert Baker & Marcia Hecht; and Ada Tolla, LOT-EK.

By visiting ISCP, you agree to abide by the following health and safety policies. Please make sure to plan ahead for your visit.

  • Four visitors are allowed in the galleries at a time, and appointments are required. Please write to info@iscp-nyc.org to schedule an appointment.
  • All visitors are required to maintain social distancing, keeping six feet from anyone not in their party.
  • Masks or face coverings are strongly recommended but not mandatory.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for visitors.
  • If you have fever, chills, cough, muscle pains, headache, loss of taste or smell, or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 prior to your visit, please contact us to reschedule.
  • An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other infectious conditions exists in any public space where people are present. Those visiting the International Studio & Curatorial Program voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, other infectious conditions, and other hazards that may be present in a public space.
Open Hours: By appointment Monday–Friday, 10:30am–5:30pm
Download Press Release (PDF)

Participating Residents

ISCP Talk
August 23, 2022, 6:30–8pm

Publishing from an Immigrant Perspective

Held in conjunction with the exhibition Lizania Cruz: Every Immigrant Is a Writer/Todo Inmigrante Es un Escritor, ISCP is pleased to host a conversation between the artist and two guest speakers; Adriana Monsalve and Emmy Catedral, who are immigrant publishers, writers, and artists. The conversation will center publishing as a practice and tool for highlighting the immigrant experience, and will close with a poetry reading by writer and curator Serubiri Moses. A broadside of one of his poems, designed and printed by Cruz, will be available at the event.

Adriana Monsalve (she/they) is an artist, cultural worker and collaborative publisher working in the photobook medium. Along with Caterina Ragg, Monsalve is co-founder of Homie House Press, a cooperative platform that challenges the ever-changing forms of storytelling with image and text.

Emmy Catedral is an artist and writer. She is co-librarian of the Pilipinx American Library and former Fairs & Editions Coordinator at Printed Matter, Inc. She is Curator of Public Programs at Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA) where she also manages the bookshop, and teaches in the Curatorial Practice MFA Program at Maryland Institute College of Art. Emmy is a Butuan-born, Queens-raised first generation immigrant.

Serubiri Moses is an independent writer and curator who currently lives in New York City. He was the co-curator for the fifth edition of the contemporary art survey, Greater New York, at MoMA PS1, Long Island City. In 2020 and 2021, he served as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Hunter College, where he taught contemporary African and Black art history. Since 2018, he has served as faculty for independent art education platforms such as Dark Study (US), Digital Earth Fellowship (NL), New Centre for Research and Practice (DE/ US).

Lizania Cruz (she/her) is a Dominican participatory artist and designer interested in how migration affects ways of being and belonging.  Cruz has been an artist-in-residence and fellow at the Laundromat Project Create Change (2017-2019), Robert Blackburn Workshop Studio Immersion Project (SIP) (2019), Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, Visual Arts (2021-2022), and Planet Texas 2050 Artist Resident — University of Texas (2022), among others. Her work has been exhibited at BronxArtSpace, New York City; Project for Empty Space, Newark; ArtCenter South Florida, Miami Beach; The August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh; and Sharjah’s First Design Biennale, Sharjah, among others. Recently she was part of ESTAMOS BIEN: LA TRIENAL 20/21 at El Museo del Barrio, the first national survey of Latinx artists by the institution.

By visiting ISCP, you agree to abide by the following health and safety policies. Please make sure to plan ahead for your visit.
  • Four visitors are allowed in the galleries at a time, and appointments are required. Please write to info@iscp-nyc.org to schedule an appointment.
  • All visitors are required to maintain social distancing, keeping six feet from anyone not in their party.
  • Masks or face coverings are strongly recommended but not mandatory.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for visitors.
  • If you have fever, chills, cough, muscle pains, headache, loss of taste or smell, or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 prior to your visit, please contact us to reschedule.
  • An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other infectious conditions exists in any public space where people are present. Those visiting the International Studio & Curatorial Program voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, other infectious conditions, and other hazards that may be present in a public space.

Lizania Cruz: Every Immigrant Is a Writer/Todo Inmigrante Es un Escritor is supported in part by Vision Fund; Hartfield Foundation; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York City Council District 34; New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Legislature; Toby Devan Lewis; William Talbott Hillman Foundation; and Woodbury Foundation. 

6:30–8pm

Participating Residents

ISCP Talk
August 16, 2022, 6–7pm

Steven Anthony Johnson II in Conversation with Re’al Christian and TK Smith

Held in conjunction with Steven Anthony Johnson II: Getting Blood from Stone, the artist will speak with exhibition curator Re’al Christian and guest speaker TK Smith.

They will discuss Johnson’s art within the broader contexts of drawn portraiture as a symbolic language and its place within an evolving Black Southern Gothic tradition. Getting Blood from Stone presents drawings of family photographs that the artist has collected. According to the exhibition curator, the pictures are never quite complete—the painstaking detail in each sitter’s facial features contrasts with loose gestural backdrops, calling our attention to the subject while never truly revealing the full narrative of the scene unfolding. In this talk, Smith, Johnson, and Christian will consider modes of reframing Blackness and darkness as the protagonists of their stories through dream-like vignettes, as well as the relationship between Black subjectivities, historical narratives, and the surreal. 

Steven Anthony Johnson II is a draftsperson, interpretive archivist, storyteller, writer and curator living in Brooklyn, NY. They received their BFA in 2015 from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and MFA in 2017 from the New York Academy of Art. Utilizing the language of drawing, animation, and photo-documentary, their work attempts to make peace between the religious, intellectual, and humanistic ideals in relation to Blackness and “Otherness.” In so doing, they hypothesize the counter-narrative necessary to de-emphasize whiteness and “light” as the focal point of our shared intercultural narrative. Their drawings and installations utilize traditional techniques, memory, and photography to examine the intersections of Afro-ambiguity, Black mundanity, and the right to self-representation. Johnson was a 2022 artist in residence at ISCP sponsored by The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund. 

TK Smith is a Philadelphia-based curator, writer, and cultural historian. His curatorial projects include Roland Ayers: Calligraphy of Dreams, the 2021 Atlanta Biennial exhibition Virtual Remains, and Zipporah Camille Thompson: Looming Chaos. His writing has been published in Art in America, Monument Lab Bulletin, and ART PAPERS, where he is a contributing editor. In 2021, Smith was invited as inaugural writer-in-residence at the Vashon Artist Residency, and he was a 2022 recipient of an Andy Warhol Arts Writers Grant. Currently, Smith is a doctoral student in the History of American Civilization program at the University of Delaware, where he researches art, material culture, and the built environment.

Re’al Christian is a writer, editor, curator, and art historian based in Queens, NY. She is a contributing editor at ART PAPERS and the Assistant Director of Editorial Initiatives at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School. Her work explores issues related to identity, diasporas, media, and materiality. Her essays, interviews, and criticism have appeared in Art in America, Art in Print, BOMB Magazine, and The Brooklyn Rail. She has written catalog and exhibition texts for CUE Art Foundation, DC Moore Gallery, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., and Performa, and has participated in public programs with Dieu Donné and the Rubin Foundation. Her recent solo and collaborative curatorial projects include The earth leaked red ochre at Miriam Gallery and The Black Index and Life as Activity: David Lamelas at the Hunter College Art Galleries. 

By visiting ISCP, you agree to abide by the following health and safety policies. Please make sure to plan ahead for your visit.
  • Four visitors are allowed in the galleries at a time, and appointments are required. Please write to info@iscp-nyc.org to schedule an appointment.
  • All visitors are required to maintain social distancing, keeping six feet from anyone not in their party.
  • Masks or face coverings are strongly recommended but not mandatory.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for visitors.
  • If you have fever, chills, cough, muscle pains, headache, loss of taste or smell, or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 prior to your visit, please contact us to reschedule.
  • An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other infectious conditions exists in any public space where people are present. Those visiting the International Studio & Curatorial Program voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, other infectious conditions, and other hazards that may be present in a public space.

This program is supported, in part, by The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; Hartfield Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York City Council District 33; New York City Council District 34; New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Legislature; The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; and William Talbott Hillman Foundation.

6–7pm

Participating Residents