States of Becoming — Curatorial Discussion

On a white art gallery pedestal, sits an assembled sculpture consisting of brass French horn, a bicycle mirror, and a black skateboard truck with two white wheels. A thick ponytail of blond hair emerges from just inside the bell of the horn and dangles out the entrance, handing down approximately one foot below.
Image: Masimba Hwati, “Rückspiegel 2,” 2021, found materials. Courtesy the artist.

Date: October 26, 5 pm – 6:30 pm

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.





Courtesy of ICI

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.





A close-up portrait photo.
Photo by Christopher Myers

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.





A close-up head-shot of Rhea Beckett
Photo by Faith Couch

Rhea Beckett is an artist, curator, and arts administrator with an extensive performing and visual arts background. She co-founded the Black Artist Research Space (BARS), a Baltimore-based creative collective and incubator. Beckett has served as a Legislative Affairs and Grants Specialist at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, where she played an integral role in supporting the creative community of Washington, D.C., through policy and grant-making. She has served as Registrar of the Howard University art collection and gallery manager of C. Grimaldis Gallery (Baltimore, MD). Rhea earned her BS in Art from Fisk University, where she sang soprano in the Grammy Award-winning Fisk Jubilee Singers. Rhea received her MFA in Curatorial Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Rhea Beckett is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


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. ICI’s 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.

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