Un|Fixed Homeland, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, 2016 Catalog: Un|Fixed Homeland - Page 8

Director’s Statement Dexter Wimberly, Executive Director Un | Fixed Homeland is the first exhibition to open at Aljira during my tenure as executive director. In many ways, it both sets the tone and raises the bar for the kind of projects I envision taking place in our galleries. Given its elegance, it’s easy to assume that this exhibition came together without significant challenges. However, what you see in the pages of this catalog is the result of Herculean effort and vision on the part of the exhibition’s curator, Grace Aneiza Ali, as well as the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Un | Fixed Homeland brings together the work of thirteen multi-generational artists of Guyanese heritage in a presentation that is at once thoughtful, inspiring, and dare I say, educational. The theme of the exhibition struck a personal chord with me. Being born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, I grew up surrounded by people whose families immigrated to the United States from all corners of the world. My closest friends in high school and college were not only from the United States, but also from Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. I took for granted that such a diverse experience was typical. In my adult life I came to understand the blessing and beauty of being exposed to such diversity, none of which would have been possible without people having the ability to move around the globe to pursue their dreams for a better life. When people ask me where I’m from, I can see the surprise on their face when I say, ”I’m from Brooklyn.” Their usual response is, “I don’t meet too many people who were born and raised here.” My typical reply is “Neither do I!” The world is not a fixed place. It is constantly changing. History is still being made. Borders are being contested and becoming more politically charged every year. Home is a place that is simultaneously escaped from and soughtafter. When I think about home and its many definitions, I am reminded of the words of the genius entertainer Rakim who summed it up perfectly: “It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.” 8 Frank Bowling Mother’s House with Beware of the Dog, 1966 Bowling’s Variety Store, Main Street, New Amsterdam, British Guiana, 1966 Bowling’s Variety Store, Main Street, New Amsterdam, British Guiana, 1953 (Photo: Argenis Apolinario) 9