SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Seton Hall University’s Walsh Gallery welcomes Nyugen Smith for his solo exhibition “Of Matter and Memory.”  The exhibition conflates the artist’s original artwork with objects from the University’s Department of Archives and Special Collections to recontextualize interpretations of these artifacts.  Drawing heavily on his West Indian heritage, Nyugen is committed to raising the consciousness of past and present political struggles through his practice which consists of sculpture, installation, video and performance. He is influenced by African cultural traditions and the residue of European colonial rule in the West Indies.  Responding to the legacy of this particular environment, Nyugen’s work considers imperialist practices of oppression, violence and ideological misnomers. While exposing audiences to concealed narratives that distort reality, he destabilizes constructed frameworks from which this conversation is often held.

September 6 – October 14, 2016

Opening Reception:  Thursday, September 15th – 5 to 8pm

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Artist Performance:  Saturday, September 24th – 11am to 4pm

Smith enrolled in Seton Hall University in 1994 as a Political Science major, became involved in theatre and ultimately, earned his a Bachelor’s Degree with a concentration in Fine Art in 1998.  He recently graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Masters of Fine Arts Program (2016) and was recently awarded a Lenore Annenberg Fellowship, a highly prestigious and competitive award to further his professional endeavors.  His work is in The Newark Museum and private collections world-wide.  Last year, Smith, along with fellow artist Cheryl Pope were invited to the White House to give perform in honor of National Youth Justice Awareness Month.  Nyugen Smith will be performing at the Walsh Gallery in conjunction with the Seton Hall Weekend festivities from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, September 24th.  Visitors are invited to participate in a series of readings that will take place for the duration of the event.  Notes Gallery Director, Jeanne Brasile “Seton Hall University is thrilled at Nyugen’s success and we’re excited to welcome him back to his alma mater for this landmark solo exhibition.”             

For 150 years, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership, developing the whole student mind, heart, and spirit. Seton Hall combines the resources of a large university with the personal attention of a small liberal arts college. Its attractive suburban campus is only 14 miles by train, bus, or car to New York City, with the wealth of employment, internship, cultural, and entertainment opportunities the city offers. Seton Hall is a Catholic university that embraces students of all races and religions, challenging each other to better the world with integrity, compassion, and a commitment to serving others. For more information, see Seton Hall University is located at 400 S. Orange Avenue, South Orange, New Jersey, 07079. The Walsh Gallery is open 10:30am to 4:30pm Monday –Friday.

This exhibition is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.