Artist Talk: Alfred Conteh

Friday, Jun 12, 2020 6:30 – 8 pm

835 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607

Registration link:

Friday, June 12th, 6:30 CST, Zoom

Kavi Gupta invites you to join them on Zoom this Friday for the "Our Reality" Artist Talk: Alfred Conteh in conversation w/ Jeremiah Olayinka Ojo, Founder and Managing Director of Ilèkùn Wa. The two will discuss the current political climate and Conteh's inaugural solo exhibition with Kavi Gupta, Our Reality, originally scheduled to open in March at Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St., now on view virtually. The gallery will present a solo exhibition of new work by Conteh at Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St. in spring 2021. 

Exhibition: Originally planned for March 2020, Kavi Gupta is proud to present Alfred Conteh's Our Reality, with new and recent work which will now be presented as a virtual exhibition (Conteh's physical exhibition will move to spring 2021). Conteh’s newest portraits extend the artist’s critically-acclaimed Two Fronts series, a body of work exploring how African diasporal societies in the American South are fighting social, economic, educational and psychological wars on two fronts—from within and without—in order to survive.

Addressing the concrete realities of the daily lives of the individuals he portrays, Conteh mixes his paints with substances of the urban landscape—including atomized metal dust, soil, battery acid, and urethane plastic—which speak directly to the decaying environment where he and his subjects live and work.

The tactile surfaces and luminous colors of his paintings add to the emotion and complexity communicated in these portraits. Often, the first reaction viewers have is to respond to the undeniable beauty of the paintings. Beauty, however, is far from Conteh’s mind. These are not just paintings, he says. They’re reminders of the actual living conditions many Black people suffer in this country right now.


Image credits: Alfred Conteh, Our Reality (virtual installation view), 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta.