ARTS

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January 23, 2015

Exodus draws on questions of identity

There’s an instant inside Alexandria Eregbu’s and Alfredo Salazar-Caro’s joint exhibition—it happens quite suddenly—when spectators realize that they have ceased being mere spectators and instead become part of the exhibit itself.

Exodus is an exhibition featuring the work of Mexican-born Alfredo Salazar-Caro and Nigerian-American Alexandria Eregbu, housed at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park. It explores the artists’ personal interpretations of borders, identity, and belonging. Comprised mostly of sculptures and digital media, Exodus uses the very materials used to build borders between people to bring people and art together.

As soon as one walks in, one is immediately integrated into the exhibit, even if one hasn’t realized it. The space is dramatically divided by a piece from Salazar-Caro called “In and Out,” a fence cutting off the exhibition space from the spectator. The piece forces one to literally cross the border in order to see the rest of the installations. In this way, “In and Out” provides more than just social commentary about the borders that keep people apart; it also pulls from the artist’s background as a Mexican citizen to make a statement about the United States’ current immigration policy. Taking a closer look, one’s gaze is directed towards a projection hung from the fence of a group of people waiting at the U.S. border. In a way this projection mirrors the scrutiny experienced by immigrants when crossing the border.

Eregbu’s contribution to the exhibit features an installation of golden hurdles mounted on the wall, “The Golden Hour (Between Dimensions).” These hurdles explore the idea of dimensions when it comes to identity; they represent the hurdles one has to jump over when trying to answer the question of our own identity. This piece explores the idea of the different dimensions that are present when we answer the question: to which group do we belong?

When one finally leaves Exodus, one forgets the fences and hurdles keeping us from each other and ourselves, and one can finally feel liberated.

Through March 20, Arts Incubator, Tuesday–Friday, 12 p.m.–6 p.m. and Thursday, 12 p.m.–7 p.m., free.

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