Oakwood Arts' artist residency invites international artists to produce community-based projects

 Patois Bourgeois Warlord, 2018 , is an artwork produced during Lemu's tenure as Oakwood Arts' first artist-in-residence. This image documents the performance of  a character Lemu has cultivated in other series  in Oakwood Arts' space. This work was also included in our inaugural summer benefit auction, SOLSTICE, in June 2018, and   was collected by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts through the event.

Patois Bourgeois Warlord, 2018, is an artwork produced during Lemu's tenure as Oakwood Arts' first artist-in-residence. This image documents the performance of a character Lemu has cultivated in other series in Oakwood Arts' space. This work was also included in our inaugural summer benefit auction, SOLSTICE, in June 2018, and was collected by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts through the event.

ARTIST RESIDENCY

Oakwood Arts artists-in-residence are invited yearly to engage with our organization, our space, and our community. Artists-in-residence are encouraged to work with Oakwood Arts students, staff, neighbors, and affiliated organizations on artistic projects culminating in an exhibition open to the public. The exhibitions serve as an extension of not only the artist's body of work, but also their relationship with the community and its history. 

Inaugural Artist-IN-Residence MASSA LEMU

Massa Lemu is a Malawian visual artist, professor, and writer. Prior to teaching sculpture and extended media at Virginia Commonwealth University, Lemu lived in Savannah, Georgia; Cape Town, South Africa; and Houston, Texas; and much of Lemu’s work grapples with migrant experiences of marginality and postcolonial subjectivities. Lemu holds a PhD in Visual Arts from Stellenbosch University in South Africa. 

Lemu's artistic practice takes the form of drawings, performances, and multimedia installations concerned with the contradictions of migration in a time of such widespread globalization. His works emphasize the effects of an increasingly immaterial, flexible, and mobile capitalism on the postcolonial subject.  

THE SEA HUMS BEARING STRANGE GIFTS

May 10 - May 28, 2018

Massa Lemu’s artist residency exhibition, the sea hums bearing strange gifts, charts his experiences as a Malawian immigrant who has lived in various places around the world. However, Lemu imbues this site-specific installation with a sense of universality: while the building and the objects found within it reflect the unique history of the space, a former daycare center and parsonage house abandoned for many years, the sculptures are evocative of things experienced by so many around the world. the sea hums bearing strange gifts brings the multivalence of place, objects, and environments to the forefront, while also suggesting the uncanny unity of experience under capitalist hyperglobalization. Along with salvaged suitcases, original text, video pieces, and photographs, the project also featured eighteen cots that were repurposed from the daycare center in which the exhibition was housed.

Thanks to our partnership with the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, we presented the sea hums bearing strange gifts with the support of volunteers and VisArts fiber studio instructors who graciously donated their time.

Special Thanks to: 

Kathryn Carney, Lisa Crawford, Moses Cuffee, John Dijulio, Liana Elguero, Haley Harrington, Gina Lemu, Mayla Lemu, Ndondwa Lemu, Shannon Lowe, Chris Mahonski, Catherine Mazzola, the Ozhope Collective (Tavwana Chirwa, Paul Chimbwanya, Emmanuel Ngwira), Dylan Reddick, Hannah Ross, Brock Saunders, Gabrielle Stadulis, Tesni Stephen, Caiden Storey, Carolyn Todd, the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, Helen Westergren, Yvette Wilson, and Wythken Printing