Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part

Opening: Thursday, Mar 3, 2022 5 – 7 pm
Thursday, Mar 3 – Jun 26, 2022

Columbia College Chicago
600 S. Michigan
Chicago, IL 60605

The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP) presents Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Partfrom March 3, 2022 – June 26, 2022. This exhibition brings together fifteen global artists of color who together challenge notions of global segregation and dividing lines. The exhibition is organized by MoCP Associate Curator Asha Iman Veal.
The exhibition features work by Xyza Cruz Bacani (Philippines), Widline Cadet (US), Jessica Chou (US), duo Amy Sanchez Arteaga and Misael Diaz (US), Işıl Eğrikavuk (Turkey/Germany), Citlali Fabián (Mexico), Sunil Gupta (Canada/UK), Kelvin Haizel (Ghana), David Heo (US), Damon Locks (US), Johny Pitts (UK), Farah Salem (Kuwait/US), Ngadi Smart (Ivory Coast/UK), Tintin Wulia (Australia), and the debut of Abena Appiah (UK). The artworks presented in Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part advocate for dialogue and solidarity across a spectrum of experiences.
"There's a desire to encourage deep thinking about parallel experiences and relationships between global artists of color and diverse Black artists,” said curator Asha Iman Veal. “Part of the goal of the two titles is that museum visitors are invited to be active in thinking through different ways individual artists and artworks may fit together, or why it might be assumed that they don't fit. This exhibition is asking people to consider why we categorize the way that we do--within museums exhibitions, but also in the world outside. This group of artists, by many conventions, isn't one that would usually be shown together under identity concepts.”
As such, the artists featured in the exhibition showcase diverse approaches to image-making through the medium of photography, and more. British artist Johny Pitts uses documentary street photography to show self-conceptions of Afropean identity, portraying the everyday lives of Black Europeans across many countries and contexts. Artist Widline Cadet, who won the MoCP Snider Prize in 2020, brings a personal approach to examine memory, erasure, migration, immigration, and Haitian cultural identity from within the United States. Jessica Chou, an artist born in Taiwan and raised in Southern California, offers selections from her Suburban Chinatown body of work as a multicultural and expansive update to former histories of American suburban life.
From beautiful, queer drag performers in Ivory Coast to the family lives of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong, to traditional festivals in the Zapotec community of Yalálag, Mexico and imagined utopias of Black American politics and life, this wide range of perspectives unites in an assertion of collective voice.
“There is a significance to diverse Black and global artists of color having these discussions together, especially in a shared museum space,” said Veal. “The visual conversation among this group of artists is full of hope as it defies the imposed political distances and legacies that prefer they (we) neither align nor meet.”
Reservations are strongly encouraged. Visitors can make a reservation at



Beautiful Diaspora/You Are Not the Lesser Part has been generously supported through the Lannan Foundation.

The MoCP is supported by Columbia College Chicago, the MoCP Advisory Board, the Museum Council, individuals, and private and corporate foundations. The 2021-2022 exhibition season is sponsored in part by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, the Efroymson Family Fund, the Henry Nias Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 


The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago is the world’s premier college art museum dedicated to photography. As an international hub, the MoCP generates ideas and provokes dialogue among students, artists and diverse communities through groundbreaking exhibitions and programming. Now in its 46th exhibition season, the Museum of Contemporary Photography cultivates a deeper understanding of the artistic, cultural and political roles of photography in our world today.