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The Meeting Place

Helina Metaferia

Helina Metaferia, Headdress 64, 2024, hand cut and assembled media collage, 40"x40"
Helina Metaferia, Headdress 64, 2024, hand cut and assembled media collage, 40"x40"

Helina Metaferia, Headdress 64, 2024, hand cut and assembled media collage, 40"x40"

Due to the process-based nature of the Session program, this project will undergo constant modifications; the features of this page provide accruing information on the project’s developments.

May 9–June 19, 2024
Thursdays-Saturdays 12-5 pm

46 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Visitor info
Drop-in Hours - No RSVP needed

Either the artist or a Recess docent will be available to view the project in process.

Interdisciplinary artist Helina Metaferia’s The Meeting Place is a site for transformative gatherings by and for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) women (cis and transgender), who wish to engage in embodied and somatic practices as a way of activating epigenetics in order to release lived or inherited trauma of systemic oppression stored in the body. The project is designed to provide a supportive structure to an open-ended question: what does rest, love, care, and liberation look like for BIPOC women in the 21st century? The project takes as inspiration the many meetings that women have historically organized throughout the global diaspora to strengthen each other in community, including the rituals of celebration, family gatherings, places of worship, protest, political organizing, and care work.

There will be four workshops taking place over the duration of the Session, known as Meetings, each facilitated by BIPOC femme organizers. Metaferia will open the first event with her signature By Way of Revolution workshop, a performance-as-protest somatic experience open for BIPOC femmes. Guest facilitators will support the following Meetings, some of which are open to everyone. These Meetings include: an Octavia Butler-inspired writing workshop by the Free Black Women's Library; a Palestinian dance and movement workshop by Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre, and a Juneteenth ancestral meditation and closing Session after party by the Wide Awakes.

The Willing Performance Still
The Willing Performance Still

Helina Metaferia, The Willing (Boston), 2022. Performance still. 30 min

Conceived of as a research-based sanctuary modeled after spiritual sites from Metaferia’s Ethiopian heritage, The Meeting Place’s entry is flanked by two large scale collages of Black women activists – Black Lives Matter Co-founder Ayọ Tometi, and Nikole Hanna-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and creator of the landmark 1619 project. Upon entering visitors will encounter The Work, a participatory installation in the form of a circular table etched with responses to the question “What is your everyday revolution?” Visitors can also submit their answer to the question, which will be turned into ephemera exchanged throughout the Session. The Work will house a BIPOC feminist reading library that features readings connected to the various Meetings.

The Session project space will also screen Metaferia’s videos, including The Call, which is a gathering of female descendants of civil rights and abolitionist luminaries. Texts and drawings from Metaferia’s Practical Magic series, based on Ethiopian talisman scrolls, will accumulate in the project space throughout the residency, with text compiled from submissions to The Work, and images of participants from the Meetings.

The project is held concurrently and in collaboration with Metaferia’s artist book and exhibition at Center for Book Arts in New York City, titled We Must Be Magic, held May 23 through August 17, 2024. As part of Metaferia’s larger practice in archiving, both projects are meant to amplify the often overlooked labor of BIPOC femmes in social justice histories. This project is also a part of a series of activities Metaferia is holding nationally to inspire civic engagement and uplift organizing practices in advance of the 2024 national presidential election.

About the artist

Helina Metaferia


Helina Metaferia Studio Photo
Helina Metaferia Studio Photo

Helina Metaferia is an interdisciplinary artist working across collage, assemblage, video, performance, and social engagement. As a research based artist, Metaferia’s work integrates archives, somatic studies, and dialogical practices, supporting often overlooked narratives that amplify BIPOC/femme bodies.

Metaferia has held solo exhibitions at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; RISD Art Museum, Providence, RI; and Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA. Group exhibitions include ICA San Francisco, CA; Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI; and Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Art Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her work was included in the 2023 Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates, and is in the permanent collection of institutions including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Kadist, Paris, France; and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY.

Metaferia received her MFA from Tufts University’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been supported by residencies including MacDowell, Yaddo, Bemis, Triangle Arts, Project for Empty Space, and Silver Art Projects. Her work has been written about in publications including The New York Times, Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Artnet News and The Art Newspaper. Metaferia is an Assistant Professor at Brown University in the Visual Art department, and lives and works in New York City.

Artist Website


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