Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser PartMar 3 — Jun 26, 2022

  • Johny Pitts, student protest, Rome from the series Afropean, 2010-2018
  • Jessica Chou, Teens in Chicano-influenced streetwear at the corner of Ramona Ave and Newmark Ave, Monterey Park, 2013. ©Jessica Chou, courtesy Anastasia Photo, a division of AG Global, New York
  • Farah Salem, Untitled 6 from the Cornered series, 2016
  • Xyza Cruz Bacani, Daisy Benin, a Filipina human trafficking survivor inside her employer's home in New York, 2015

Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part advocates dialogue and solidarity across the spectrum of experiences of global artists of color and Black diasporic artists. Two exhibition concepts and their interchangeable titles intertwine as one, breaking with more frequent traditions of ethnically separated and disconnected exhibition spaces in museology and the art world.

A global forum on beautiful Blackness, Beautiful Diaspora considers contemporary art as central to the portrayal of expansiveness—beyond a single-country scope, political commodity, or compressed narrative. This beautiful expansiveness exists as a testament to Black spatial wandering and assertion, existing beyond assumptions and boundaries.

You Are Not the Lesser Part challenges the pervasive social casualness of assigning bodies of color to the category “minority” (quite a mis-imagining). Neither negligible nor small, the significance of our presence is not the lesser part of anything. The description word "minor" does not match our fullness, agency, and dreams.

The visual conversation among this full group of fifteen artists defies the imposed political distances and legacies of colonialism that prefer they (we) neither align nor meet. There is a significance, and a hope, to diverse Black and global artists of color together in shared space.

Beautiful Diaspora/You Are Not the Lesser Part will feature photo and multidisciplinary artists Xyza Cruz Bacani, Widline Cadet, Jessica Chou, Cog•nate Collective (Amy Sanchez Arteaga and Misael Diaz), Işıl Eğrikavuk, Citlali Fabián, Sunil Gupta, Kelvin Haizel, David Heo, Damon Locks, Johny Pitts, Farah Salem, Ngadi Smart, Tintin Wulia, and the debut of Abena Appiah. 

-Asha Iman Veal, Curatorial Fellow 


The MoCP is supported by Columbia College Chicago, the MoCP Advisory Board, the Museum Council, individuals, and private and corporate foundations. The 2021-2022 exhibition season is sponsored in part by the Philip and Edith Leonian Foundation, the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, the Efroymson Family Fund, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 

Beautiful Diaspora/You Are Not the Lesser Part has been generously supported through The David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Impact Fund for Photography.


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