Kambui Olujimi Receives Solo Exhibition at CUE

May 31, 2016

Adjunct faculty member Kambui Olujimi ’13 was recently the subject of a solo exhibition at CUE Art Foundation in New York. Solastalgia, which opened April 7 and was extended through May 13, featured sculptures, serigraphs and paintings that address issues related to gentrification, police violence, community, neighborhood, loss and memorialization.

Curated by Hank Willis Thomas, the exhibition took its name from a term coined by Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht to evoke the feeling ”when your endemic sense of place is being violated.” Olujimi’s work employs this idea—”the feeling of homesickness when one is still home,” according to the gallery press release—in an exploration of the changes his native New York have undergone during his lifetime. Much of this is examined through the prism of the late civil servant Catherine Arline, whose more than 40 years of work for the city made her a community hero in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where Olijumi grew up under her influence and guidance. In her essay for the exhibition catalogue, Jessica Lynne writes that Arline’s “death brought about an absence that was deeply and immediately felt [in the neighborhood]. For Olujimi, this absence becomes part of the sense of displacement that looms over his evolving relationship to home. With her passing, a layer of intimacy with which Olujimi has always associated with his neighborhood vanishes. … [T]he viewer bears witness to the artist's quiet frustration and heartfelt homage.”

Olujimi, who received his BFA from Parsons School of Design, has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in New York, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, among many other institutions. He has been a resident at such institutions as the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine, Apexart and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in New York, and Civitella Ranieri in Italy, and has received grants and fellowships from A Blade of Grass, the Jerome Foundation and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.