In this newly commissioned mixed media installation, Ezra Wube (b. 1980, Ethiopia) constructs a site-specific project that explores food as an expression of collective identity in its ever evolving state. The installation incorporates animation, painting, prints, and objects.
Wube’s creative process involved visiting Teranga at The Africa Center, as well as other African restaurants within walking distance of the Center including Cross Culture Kitchen, Le Baobab Gouygui, La Savane, Safari, and Zoma. He researched the ingredients of the dishes on their menus, and took note of the décor and ambience of each location.
Wube’s stop motion animations use the ingredients of each dish to reflect his discoveries about their native origins, symbolism, historical and cultural associations, related folklore and beliefs. The line drawings unfurling throughout the space hint at these figurative connections, while tracing stories of the ingredients’ historical cultivation and global dispersion. The objects displayed within the installation recreate those found on the walls of the local restaurants, and reference how African cultures and communities in America construct symbolic universes to reflect on their experiences of diaspora and home.
The installation is accompanied by a futuristic takeout menu that viewers are invited to take with them. The menu is based on Wube’s conversations with the restaurant proprietors about dishes that they imagine will continue to exist in the year 3020 A.D.
For Wube, culinary tradition is a lens for exploring transformations in the relationship between Africa and America through the everyday lives of people and their food. “Through these layers of connected time and space—the past, the present and the future, the local with the global—I aim to highlight the global assemblage and continuous rejustification of African identities.”—Ezra Wube.
Ezra Wube (b. 1980, Ethiopia) is a mixed media artist based in Brooklyn, NY. His work references the notion of past and present, the constant changing of place, and the dialogical tensions between “here”and “there”. His exhibitions include the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil, Brazil; The 2nd edition of the Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans, France; “Gwangju Biennale”, Gwangju, South Korea; Museum of the Moving Image, Queens, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; “Dak’Art Biennale”, Dakar, Senegal and Times Square Arts Midnight Moment, NY. His residencies and awards include Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY; Work Space, LMCC Residency Program, New York, NY; Open Sessions Program, The Drawing Center, New York, NY; Rema Hort Mann Foundation; the Triangle Arts Association Residency, Brooklyn, NY and The Substation Artist Residency Program, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Since 2015 Ezra organizes Addis Video Art Festival, a platform for innovative international video art in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ezra Wube: Project Junction is organized by Evelyn Owen, Associate Curator, and Henone Girma, Programs Coordinator. This exhibition is made possible with support generously provided by The Africa Center’s Board of Trustees.