Spotlight of the week – Helina Metaferia

April 15, 2022

Helina Metaferia is an interdisciplinary artist working across collage, assemblage, video, performance, and social engagement. Her work interrogates the body’s relationship to sites, especially regarding notions of identity and citizenship. Heline says, “As a research-based artist, my work is informed by written and oral archives, dialogical art, and somatic practices.”, explaining her deep expression of complex histories of institutionalized and systemic oppression through her works. Her works don’t dictate but question how oppression informs our personal experiences and interpersonal relationships. She often uses her body or other people’s body as a medium for a live art that captures fleeting moments that are kept and seen only through existence.

Helina received her Masters of Fine Arts from Tufts University’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her recent solo exhibitions include the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; and New York University’s The Gallatin Galleries, New York, NY. Group exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI; CF Hill, Stockholm, Sweden; and Modern Art Museum, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her interdisciplinary projects range from critiquing the bias in art historical cannons that perpetuate myths of Western male exceptionalism; to advocating for the overlooked labor of BIPOC women activists; to redefining notions of citizenship related to forced (im)migration; and more. As an Ethiopian-American, her work seeks to conform to the complex contradictions of being an American.

Metaferia’s work has been supported by several residencies, including MacDowell, Yaddo, Bemis, and MASS MoCA. She is currently an artist in residence at Silver Art Projects at the World Trade Center in New York City and participated in the 2021 Drawing Center’s Viewing Program. Metaferia’s work has been written about in several publications, including The New York Times, Financial Times, Artnet News, Hyperallergic, The Art Newspaper, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The San Francisco Chronicle. She currently serves as Assistant Professor at Brown University in the Visual Art department and lives and works in New York City. We appreciate Metaferia in shifting the perspective of Art through integrating several mediums and her effort to stretch the capacity to become an existing art within our own body.

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