Sanaa Gateja at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska

Published 09 December 2023 in News

We are delighted to annouce that Sanaa Gateja is showing in the group exhibition Neo-Custodians: Woven Narratives of Heritage, Cultural Memory, and Belonging at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska

December 9, 2023, - April, 14, 2024

Neo-Custodians: Woven Narratives of Heritage, Cultural Memory, and Belonging focuses on the historical aspect of textiles as a vehicle for communication and representation. Linking this ancient form of expression to contemporary artworks inspired by this legacy, the thirteen artists in the exhibition engage intentionally with materials bearing complex histories. Offering unique perspectives that examine concepts around migration, identity, and environmental sustainability, these artists revisit history through the deconstruction of the canon. Reviewing personal and socio-political histories, as well as world events of the past through the lens of their diverse practices, they create a reconfiguration of ideas that births something new, centered on the regenerative properties of fibers.


Through their evocative works, each artist embarks on a journey of uncovering. In doing so, they carve out a space for both unearthing and rewriting narratives, acting as custodians of stories which are often buried or uncelebrated. Their deliberate manipulation challenges tradition, and forges new pathways of understanding. Collectively, the works create a contemplative space–– one that encourages a thorough reflection on the past in order to gain a better understanding of the present, and how both coalesce to shape the future.


Exhibiting artists include El Anatsui, Malene Barnett, Layo Bright, Celeste Butler, Sanaa Gateja, Enam Gbewonyo, Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Seydou Keita, Ron Norsworthy, Nnenna Okore, Patrick Quarm, Latrelle Rostant, and Yinka Shonibare.


Neo-Custodians: Woven Narratives of Legacy, Cultural Memory, and Belonging is curated by Nneoma Ilogu, Bemis Center’s 2022–2023 Curator-in-Residence.

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