Group Exhibition
23 October 2019–31 May 2021

Yinka Shonibare CBE's 'The American Library' in 'When Home Won't Let You Stay: Migration through Contemporary Art'

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston, Massachusetts; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota; Iris and Gerald B. Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, Stanford University, California

'When Home Won't Let You Stay: Migration through Contemporary Art' is a touring group exhibition which opened at Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston in October 2019 and travelled to Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota in February 2020 and Iris and Gerald B. Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, Stanford University, Stanford, California in February 2021. 

The exhibition borrows its title from a poem by Warsan Shire, a Somali-British poet celebrated for giving voice to the experiences of refugees. Bringing together the work of twenty international artists, the show explores how contemporary art is responding to the migration, immigration, and displacement of peoples today.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Kader Attia, Tania Bruguera, Isaac Julien, Hayv Kahraman, Reena Saini Kallat, Richard Mosse, Carlos Motta, Yinka Shonibare, Xaviera Simmons, and Do-Ho Suh, among others.

At the core of the presentation is Yinka Shonibare CBE's 'The American Library', a room filled floor-to-ceiling with over 6,000 books bound in the artist's signature batik fabric. Each volume bears the name of an individual who has made a significant contribution to American culture who is a first or second generation immigrant or was affected by the Great Migration. Visitors are invited to learn more about those named and to contribute their family's own migration stories, through an interactive digital platform.

Click here to explore 'The American Library' online. 

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, with an essay by Eva Respini and Ruth Erickson and texts by prominent scholars Aruna D'Souza, Okwui Enwezor, Thomas Keenan, Peggy Levitt, and Uday Singh Mehta, among others. This exhibition is organized by Ruth Erickson (Mannion Family Curator) and Eva Respini (Barbara Lee Chief Curator), with Ellen Tani (Assistant Curator).


Touring dates

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston, Massachusetts, 23 October 2019 – 26 January 2020
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 23 February – 23 August 2020 
Iris and Gerald B. Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, Stanford University, Stanford, California, 5 February – 31 May 2021

 

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