States of Becoming

On the left a person wearing a blue covid-era mask and dressed in patches of bright patterns holds long-stemmed roses in front of their face while sitting boot to knee in front of a brightly colored and highly patterned curtain. A hand-written message says, "Who will survive in America?" On the right an abutting image is presented sideways with a figure in shadow wearing a fedora and holding long-stemmed flowers in their teeth. A TV test pattern sign says, "NO SIGNAL INPUT."
Image: Gabriel C. Amadi-Emina, Fade Catcher, 2021, Diptych photographic print on museo silver rag adhered flat on wooden panel. Courtesy of the artist.

Date: September 22 – December 9

CADVC announces States of Becoming, an exhibition that 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.

The concept for States of Becoming evolved from curator Fitsum Shebeshe’s lived experience following his 2016 move from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Baltimore, Maryland, and his subsequent firsthand knowledge of the weight of cultural assimilation. Confronted with a different society, Shebeshe encountered a wide range of existential questions that shaped his relationship to institutions and culture. Shebeshe also had the realization for the first time that he was viewed as belonging to a minority because of the color of his skin, and a newfound awareness of the profound impact Ethiopia’s traditional and conservative culture had on his personal sense of individuality.

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.

Public events & Programs

Opening Reception

Close-up of half of a face with a dark brown skin tone and one eye gazing up is extremely close up on the left. On the right is a blurry green pixilated view of a wooded area. In the center is a mirror hanging on a tree in the forest. In the reflection of the mirror is a woman viewed from the back with a pink scarf over her long dark hair. Her medium brown arms reach up, and her hands disappear underneath her hair.
Image: Kearra Amaya Gopee, video still from “Artifact #3: Terra Nullius,” 2019. Courtesy the artist.

An opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 21, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. A 6 p.m. panel discussion will feature Chukwudumebi Gabriel Amadi-EminaElshafei Dafalla, and Helina Metaferia, moderated by Maleke Glee, director of Stable Gallery in Washington, D.C. Exhibition curator Fitsum Shebeshe will provide an introduction.

Please visit here for additional information.



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.

On Thursday, October 26 at 5 p.m., the CADVC presents a conversation with the curator, Fitsum Shebeshe, 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.

Please visit here for additional 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. 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.

Visitor Information & Accessibility

All events are free and open to the public. Please visit here for directions and parking information.

For special accessibility needs or questions, please email as soon as possible. We will do our best to provide accommodation and access.