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Session

Duppy

Christopher Udemezue

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.

Date:
November 7–December 21, 2019

Visitor info
To make an appointment, please sign up no later than 10 am the same day at recessartscheduling.as.me

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Close friends and family warned Christopher Udemezue that he was essentially risking his life by visiting Jamaica as a queer person, given the country’s reputation of violence. Upon his return from a successful trip, Udemzue questioned his mother about why she’d been so afraid for his safety. In turn, she told him stories about growing up poor in Kingston in the 1970s and the daily turmoil that politics in the country’s capital caused in her life.

Duppy reflects Udemezue’s complex longings and projections of nostalgia toward his and his mother’s homeland, Jamaica. From November 7 through December 21, Udemezue will create a sculptural installation made from printed images, resin, found objects, and audio recordings of conversations with members of the artist’s personal circle that delve into the issues of race, misogyny, homophobia, family lineage, and ancestry.

Emerging from Caribbean folklore, a “duppy” is an evil spirit. For Udemezue, duppy describes the unseen––or ghostly––way in which trauma and economic oppression are passed on. “The ghetto never just becomes the ghetto overnight,” says Udemezue. “Systems of oppression make ghettos.” The pressure to culturally assimilate felt by immigrants ensures that important stories of political and economic survival remain hidden. Instead, Duppy brings these stories to light. Participants are invited to engage through a series of workshops on the immigration and legal histories of the Caribbean and healing generational trauma.

Session invites artists to use Recess’s public platform to combine productive studio space with dynamic exhibition opportunities. Sessions remain open to the public from the first day of the artist’s project through the last, encouraging sustained dialogue between artists and audiences. Due to the process-based nature of Session, projects undergo constant revision and the above proposal is subject to change.

About the artist

Christopher Udemezue

Born in Long Island, Christopher Udemezue has shown at a variety of galleries and museums, including the New Museum, Queens Museum of Art, MoMA PS1, Bruce High Quality Foundation, and Envoy Enterprises. Udemezue recently has utilized his Jamaican heritage, the complexities of desire for connection, tragedy through personal mythology, and public lynching as primary sources. As the founder of the platform RAGGA NYC & CONNEK JA, he completed a residency with the New Museum, “All The Threatened and Delicious Things Joining One Another” in June 2017. As the lead organizing member of the art collective House of Ladosha, Christopher has shown recently in the New Museum’s Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon and was one of the chosen artists in The Shed’s Open Call grant program, on view in June 2019.

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