News Archive


Solo Exhibition at Hamiltonian Gallery, August 11-September 15, 2018

My solo exhibition at Hamiltonian Gallery opens Saturday, August 11, 2018. Information for the show is as follows:

"Refiguring the Canon"
New work by Helina Metaferia 
August 11 - September 15, 2018
Hamiltonian Gallery 
1353 U Street, NW
Washington, DC
Opening Reception: August 11, 7pm-9pm
Artist Talk: August 28, 7pm

About the Exhiibtion:
In "Refiguring the Canon," artist Helina Metaferia creates a hybrid environment where performance art and collage are used to interrogate racism, sexism, and notions of western exceptionalism within art historical narratives and institutional spaces. Metaferia displays documentation from performances at the National Gallery of Art and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, in which she asserts her body using simple gestures in contrast to historic artworks, challenging their conceptual meaning. In other works, Metaferia uses found magazines, including Art News, Art Forum, and Art in America, published in the 1980's (the decade of her birth). Combining the images of artwork featured in the magazines with photographic stills from her recent performances, Metaferia creates an avatar persona who reclaims a space in art history for under-recognized and marginalized women and artists of color. Playing with the 1980's trending re-interest in "primitivism," Metaferia uses her Ethiopian-American female body as a way to reclaim that gaze and decolonize the appropriation of black culture. Revisiting Hannah Höch's "From An Ethnographic Museum" series from a black woman's perspective, and addressing the Guerrilla Girls' timeless questioning of "greatness" in art history, Metaferia examines how these dated issues remain relevant today.

Artist Paolo Morales will also be opening his exhibtion, "Memphis Tulips" simultaneously at the gallery.

Above Image Caption: "Mythological Quest 1," Helina Metaferia, 2018, 22" x 28, magazine paper, digital print, colored pencils on paper 

Upcoming Performances

Hope to see you at some of my following upcoming performances in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Miami:

"Inalienable Truths" 
Performance: November 16, 2017, 6:00pm
Gallery 102, George Washington University, Washington, DC

Performance: November 17, 2017, 8:00pm
Curated by Labbodies 
Space Camp Gallery, Baltimore, MD

"Universal Belonging"
Performance: December 7, 6pm
Prizm Art Fair, Miami, FL

"Performance is Alive"
Performance: December 9, 8pm
Satellite Art Fair, Miami, FL

Solo Exhibition - Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD)

I am pleased to announce that my solo exhibition at the Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD), is currently on view now through April 2, 2017. 

The exhibition, titled Home | Free, addresses a diasporic longing for a physical and psychic home in a time of increased voluntary and involuntary mass migration of black bodies. Through an interdisciplinary practice of performance, video, installation, photography, objects, and mark-making, I present the complexity, transformation, and rebellion that come with migration, immigration, and gentrification. Home | Free explores the use of home-building materials as art objects and the visual language of maps, lines, text, and movement — all tools to help the body navigate the world.

Please join me for the opening reception and a live performance with musical guest Zena Carlota on Thursday, February 16, at 6:30pm.

Write Up on my work in SF Chronicle

Thanks to San Francisco Chronicle for writing about my current solo exhibition at the Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD) in its print and online publications. The exhibition is on view now through April 2, 2017, and features interdisciplinary work in performance and new genres. The opening reception and live performance will be on Thursday, February 16, at 6:30pm. 

My favorite line is the article is "Metaferia's background is in visual art, and she says she has an appreciation and respect for the art object. But as she's grown as an artist 'I've just matured into thinking the art object is whatever I say it is.'" 

Black Portraiture[s] III Conference Panel Chair/Presenter

I am looking forward to presenting at the Black Portraiture[s] III Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 19, 2016 at 10:30am. I am chairing and presenting on the panel "Performing the Continent: Re-Imagining African Identities through Multidisciplinary Art Practices," along with Rashayla Marie Brown, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, and Tiffany Smith, and moderated by Nikki A. Greene. The conference is put together by New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, and Goodman Gallery. You can find more details about Black Portraiture[s] III here. Hope to see you at the conference. 

Solo Exhibition at Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco

The Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco, CA just announced my solo exhibition at the museum as a winner of the Emerging Artist Program. The exhibition will take place January 25, 2017 to April 2, 2017 and will consist of installation, performance, and video. Here is the announcement on MoAD's website. Hope to see you at the opening!  

Art & Education Announces AICAD Post-MFA Fellows for 2016-2017

I will be renewing my full time AICAD Post-MFA Teaching Fellowship for another academic year at San Francisco Art Institute, where I will continue teaching in the New Genres and Graduate departments. The fellowship includes full time teaching experience, an art studio, a professional development grant, monetary support and benefits, plus participation in the annual fellows conference. Here is the announcement about the fellowship in Art & Education

Upcoming Artist Residencies in 2016

I will be participating in the following artist residencies in 2016:
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
Skowhegan, Maine
Vermont Studio Center
Johnston, VT
Saratoga Spring, NY

May 2016 Exhibitions

I will be showing work at the following venues in May 2016:
International Video Art House Madrid Festival
La Neomudejar Arts Center
Madrid, Spain
May 7, 2016
There will be a screening of my video The Newest Flower in the video art from Ethiopia segment by Addis Video Art Festival. More info on the festival at
Identify: Performance as Portraiture
National Portrait Gallery
Washington, DC
May 14, 2016
I will assist Maria Magdalena Campos Pons and Neil Leonard in a live performance at the National Portrait Gallery on this date. More info on the performance here.
#BlackGirlLit -- Between Performance and Memory
Five Myles Gallery
Brooklyn, NY 
May 21, 2016
6:30pm - 11:00pm
I will be performing a new piece, titled "Slow Dirt," that investigates the intersections between literature and activism. More info on #BlackGirlLit here.

New York Times Write-Up on Havana Biennial Performance

I recently was fortunate to have traveled with School of the Museum of Fine Arts professor Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons to Cuba for the 12th Havana Biennial for a performance in Casablanca. A few MFA graduate students from her installation class helped design and participate in a public performance that involved engaging Cuban citizens in a park with questions about current U.S. and Cuban relations. The performance, titled "Conversando," was mentioned by Holland Cotter in the New York Times in an article discussing this year's biennial. Here is a link to the article:
This is the second performance that I have participated in with Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons. The first performance, titled "Habla La Madre," was for the Carrie Mae Weems Retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 2014.

Art & Education Announces AICAD Post Graduate Teaching Fellow

I am happy to be selected as an AICAD Post-Graduate Teaching Fellow for the San Francisco Art Institute for the 2015-2016 academic year. The fellowship includes full-time teaching experience, a professional development grant, monetary support and other fun perks. Art & Education (a joint venture between e-flux and Art Forum) just announced the nine fellows who will be placed at seven art institutions. Read here for more:

SMFA Graduate Student Commencement Speaker 2015

I was honored to be selected as the 2015 School of the Museum of Fine Arts Graduate Student Commencement Speaker. Here is a video recording of my commencement speech below. The speech transcript has also been published on the SMFA website:


Selected as one of the "Top MFA Students to Watch" by Boston Globe

I am happy to be featured in the Boston Globe today in an article on top MFA candidates in Boston, written by art critic Cate McQuaid. It was a good overview to my work and my upcoming thesis exhibition/performance on May 14 at the Boston Center for the Art's Cyclorama. 
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