Exhibitions

Samiya Bashir:

I Hope This Helps

 
Please note that The Africa Center will be closed on Friday, May 31st, for a staff retreat. 
We will reopen for regular hours on Saturday, June 1.
 
 
May 18th—July 31st, 2024
 
Thursday—Friday, 11AM—5PM
Saturday, 12PM – 9PM
Sunday, 12PM—6PM
 
The Africa Center at Aliko Dangote Hall
1280 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029 United States (map)
 

The Africa Center is pleased to present I Hope This Helps, a multi-sensory exhibition by Samiya Bashir. Featuring 20 works that are developed in 20 Standards, the exhibition explores the complexities of human interaction and engages with critical issues impacting our society. 

As the world grapples with profound change, I Hope This Helps evokes shared experiences of upheaval, displacement, and the relentless pursuit of hope amidst uncertainty. Through the intersection of text, sound, and video, the exhibition offers a non-linear approach that encourages viewers to engage with each Standard independently. 

 

Standard

 – [heraldry] a long, tapering flag or ensign, as of a monarch or a nation

 – a form of language widely accepted as the usual form

 – a rule or principle used as a basis for judgment

 – an upright support or supporting part

 – a distinct petal, larger than the rest

 – a vexillum

As visitors walk through the exhibition, they’ll find fabrics suspended at varying heights, creating a fluid pathway that guides them through the works. Rather than building meaning sequentially, each piece challenges conventional notions of accessibility and confronts hierarchies, creating a safe space for controversial conversations that are often relegated to therapy or theory. Bashir’s works prompt internal dialogue, stirring erosive emotions beyond “standard” frameworks.

Bashir’s practice explores the intersections of culture, change, and identity through the lens of race, gender, the body, and sexuality. Originally conceptualized between 2019 and 2020, I Hope This Helps briefly debuted at the American Academy in Rome before being immediately disrupted by the pandemic. 

Following her residency at Sculpture Space in Utica NY, and with the generous support of the New York Council on the Arts grant, Bashir has integrated new elements and insights into I Hope This Helps, gained through years of experimentation. 

 

I Hope This Helps is curated by Favour Ritaro, Curatorial Projects Consultant, and  made possible at The Africa Center with support of NYSCA & Sculpture Space.

 

About Samiya Bashir

Samiya Bashir (b. 1970, Ann Arbor, Michigan) explores the intersections of culture, change, and identity through the lens of race, gender, the body, and sexuality. 

She holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA from the University of Michigan. Bashir is renowned as the author of “Field Theories” (2017), recipient of the Oregon Book Award, and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for her works “Gospel” (2009) and “Where the Apple Falls” (2005).

Bashir is the recipient of awards, grants, fellowships, and residencies including the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize for Literature, American Academy in Rome, the NYSCA Support for Artist Award, for “I Hope This Helps,” at the Sculpture Space, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the NEA, the University of California (where she served as a poet laureate), the Astraea Foundation, the National League of American Pen Women, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Soul Mountain Retreat, The Austin Project, Alma de Mujer, the James Dick Foundation for the Performing Arts, and Cave Canem, among others. She was a recipient of the 2011 Aquarius Press Legacy Award, given annually in recognition of women writers of color who actively provide creative opportunities for other writers.

Currently residing in Harlem, NYC, Bashir’s work continues to provoke thought and inspire dialogue on vital societal issues. 

 

Media Contacts: 

The Africa Center

press@theafricacenter.org 

Ayofemi Kirby

ayofemi@itseleventhirtysix.com

Exhibitions and Installations