Rodrigo Valenzuela in group exhibition at Aljira in Newark 7.1.17

An Exhibition of International Video Art

July 22 – September 23, 2017
Reception: Saturday, July 22, 2–5pm
Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah and Dexter Wimberly

COMM | ALT | SHIFT includes the work of 14 contemporary artists who use video to explore the complexities and angst of modern times. The exhibition’s title references keyboard shortcuts or a sequence or combination of keystrokes on a computer that lead to various, yet specified outcomes. COMM | ALT | SHIFT unpacks video as a ubiquitous technology for entertainment, education and escape, as well as a powerful tool for surveillance, manipulation and control.

Participating artists include Carlos Aires, Bolo (Saks Afridi and Qinza Najm), Delphine Fawundu, Genevieve Gaignard, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, George Jenne, Miatta Kawinzi, Lin Ke, Jen Liu, Jillian Mayer, Nontsikelelo Mutiti and Dyani Douze, Federico Solmi, Jan Staller, and Rodrigo Valenzuela.

In Carlos Aires’ Sweet Dreams are made of this we find two policemen in anti-riot gear, dancing the Tango to a version of the famous 1984 song, “Sweet Dreams,” by the British group, Eurhythmics. Recorded in the ballroom of the Museo Cerralbo, in Madrid, Aires’ video was inspired by protests against the Spanish government for corruption, as well as the violent response by the Spanish police.

Delphine Fawundu’s the cleanse, an intense yet meditative work, appropriates text from a variety of sources including authors Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and James Baldwin, as well as The Holy Bible and The Holy Quran. Rodrigo Valenzuela’s Prole probes the working-class mindset, depicting a once unified factory soccer team that has gone on strike—their problems exacerbated by a mix of office politics, game misunderstandings, and personal issues.

Carousel, a work by the multidisciplinary artist duo Bolo (Saks Afridi & Qinza Najm), questions the duplicity of rhetoric in dictatorships and democracies, alluding to patterns of power cycles and ascendancy in human nature and human history. Genevieve Gaignard’s Missing You, a video fraught with melancholy, portrays the artist as Diana Ross whose song is spliced with radio chatter from recent police killings of African Americans.


Larry Ossei-Mensah is a Ghanaian-American independent curator and cultural critic who has documented contemporary art happenings for various publications including NeueJournal, Uptown and Whitewall Magazine. His writings have profiled some of the most dynamic visual artists working today—Derrick Adams, Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Wiley, Lorna Simpson and street artist JR. As a curator, Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art and culture as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. He has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe featuring a roster of critically acclaimed artists including Firelei Baez, ruby amanze, Hugo McCloud, Brendan Fernandes, and Derek Fordjour to name a few. Recently, Ossei-Mensah was named the 2017 Critic-in Residence at ART OMI in addition to serving as Co-Chair on Russell Simmons’ RUSH Artist Advisory Board and a member of MoMA’s Friends of Education.

Aljira’s Executive Director, Dexter Wimberly organizes exhibitions that explore contemporary culture, American history, economics, and power dynamics. A passionate supporter of the arts, Wimberly has exhibited the work of hundreds of artists internationally. During his decade-long career, he has organized exhibitions and programs at dozens of museums and galleries including the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) Raleigh, The California African American Museum, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), 101/EXHIBIT gallery, Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, bitforms gallery, Koki Arts gallery (Tokyo), and The Third Line Gallery (Dubai).

Images, top to bottom: Genevieve Gaingnard, Missing You, Courtesy of Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles; Carlos Aires, Sweet Dreams are made of this, Courtesy of the artist; Delphine Fawundu, the cleanse, Courtesy of the artist; Rodrigo Valenzuela, Prole, Courtesy of the artist

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