On view October 12–November 13, 2016
Opening reception Sunday, October 16 (3–6 p.m.)

Beautiful. Impenetrable. Tall. Powerful. Great. These are the words Donald J. Trump has used to describe the wall he plans to build on the southern border of the United States. Along with the threat of the “great, great wall,” Trump has proposed numerous anti-immigration, racist policies throughout his campaign for President. In response to this blatant outpouring of hatred and ignorance, Nationale is proud to present Foreigners, featuring work by four Portland-based immigrant artists: Modou Dieng (Senegal), Bukola Koiki (Nigeria), Victor Maldonado (Mexico), and Angelica Millán (Colombia). 

With their individual perspectives and voices, these four artists explore the notion of “In-betweenness,” the sense of not belonging completely to their cultural roots or their current home, but rather occupying a space that is malleable and complex. Bukola Koiki’s sculptures on view illustrate this hybridity. One piece is based on Geles, or traditional Nigerian headscarves but is made from Tyvek, a popular western, utilitarian material. Similarly, her large wall sculpture plays with scale while referencing traditional beaded necklaces, another important Nigerian accessory. Victor Maldonado’s flattened lucha libre masks and his prints, made during a 2014 residency at Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, represent two series within a larger body of work that looks to the iconic Mexican lucha wrestling mask to delve into issues surrounding pervasive cultural symbols and identity. Modou Dieng’s multimedia work combines popular icons from the US and his native Africa, revealing the fluidity of contemporary pop/street culture. Angelica Millán’s floral textile wall works are part of her series Espinas (thorns), which entice viewers to explore and understand identity through the challenges that come with being a female immigrant. 

The work shown in Foreigners highlights that even in the relatively small city of Portland, OR, in a country built by foreigners, immigrants are still an integral part of the cultural and societal fabric. Regardless of birthplace, Trump’s proposed immigration policies are a threat to all as they jeopardize the United States’ fascinating and unique cultural diversity. 

Modou Dieng
was born in Saint-Louis, Senegal. He is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the symbolic and mythological power of pop culture icons through mixed media. His paintings and sculptures construct a mural of archetypal cultural imagery filtered through the perspective of a Generation X African. As an artist and curator, Dieng has exhibited and curated internationally at spaces including: Steve Turner Gallery (Los Angeles); Pulsar (Antwerp); Dakar Biennale (Dakar); Carousel du Louvre (Paris); Sarah Lawrence College (NY); Museum of Contemporary African and Diaspora Art (Brooklyn); Casa Encendida (Madrid); Portland Community College Sylvania (Portland); and Staedelschule (Germany). He is the founder/curator of the alternative space Worksound in Portland, OR. Dieng holds an MFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute and is currently an Associate Professor in Drawing and Painting at Pacific Northwest College of Art. 

Bukola Koiki was born in Lagos, Nigeria and came to study art in the United States as a teen through a series of events involving a secondary school classmate and the American Visa Lottery Program. She received her MFA in Applied Craft + Design from Oregon College of Art and Craft and Pacific Northwest College of Art in May 2015. Her work explores cultural hybridity and cultural dislocation through the lens of memory, language, rituals, and rites of passage, using a variety of mediums. It has been exhibited in galleries in Portland OR, Morristown, NJ, and Gatlinburg, TN, and featured in Surface Design Journal and online in Art21 Magazine and Art Practical. She lives and works in Portland, OR.

Victor Maldonado is a Portland, OR, based multidisciplinary artist, freelance curator, and writer. Born in Changuitiro, Michoacán, Mexico, he grew up in the Central San Joaquin Valley of California. Working from his heritage and using his contemporary aesthetic, Maldonado explores the Mexican migrant experience in America and creates images that delicately balance humor with pointed cultural commentary. Maldonado received his BFA from the California College of Art (2000) and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2005). He is an Assistant Professor and Inclusions Specialist at Pacific Northwest College of Art. His work has most recently been acquired by the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX. He appears courtesy of Froelick Gallery and Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts.

Angelica Millán was born in Bogotá, Colombia and recently moved to Portland, OR, from Florida to pursue her MFA in Visual Studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art. Her experience relocating to a new country with her parents and two brothers at the age of twelve has been instrumental in the development of her artistic identity and the immigrant experience has remained a prominent theme and focal point in her work. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stetson University and has shown in galleries in Portland, OR, and in Florida in Orlando, Sanford, Daytona Beach, and Deland. 

Nationale: Through the lens of 'Foreigners', exhibition review by Mack Carlisle, Oregon ArtsWatch, October 25, 2016
Jennifer Rabin's Highly Recommended Pick, The Willamette Week, October 26, 2016
Bukola Koiki's Tyvek Gele, a capsule review by Paul Maziar, October 28, 2016
Arts Best Bet, The Oregonian, October 14, 2016
Review by Lusi Lukova on the Nationale blog, October 29, 2016


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