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Tijay Mohammed: Artist in Residency

In December, Packer welcomed Ghanaian-born artist Tijay Mohammed for a visiting artist residency. His exhibition at the Shen Gallery, Read to a Child, showcased a collection of his vibrant collages that were inspired by Maya Angelou’s words: "The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned."

Describing his own work, Tijay says: “My perceptive use of commonly found objects (fabric scraps, metrocards, jewelry, cardboard, paper, photographs, stories, etc.) creates poetic representations of real-world issues such as migration, childcare, gender, social and environmental justice, whilst encouraging material upcycling in reference to climate change. History plays an essential role in my process of repurposing objects and stories to reflect the nostalgia of place and time, utopian cultures, and traditions in juxtaposition to the complexities of the African and African American and minority experiences.” 

 During his residency, Tijay visited classrooms, and students of all ages took viewing trips to The Shen, where they interacted with the artwork and considered concepts of home, identity, and ideology in art. 

Kindergarteners had discussions about their observations of the art and drew their own pictures of the pieces. Their interpretation of Tijay’s work centered around messages of recycling, reusing materials, and the idea of children playing outdoors and spending time with family.

Some reactions from the Kindergarten Hedgehogs: 

“The artist makes collages out of paper.” 

“He reused the paper."

“He was using maps and other types of paper to make the art.”

We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to host Tijay and his powerful artwork this year.  

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