Esmaa Mohamoud: Three exhibitions to see in New York this weekend

Daniel Cassady and Gabriella Angeleti, The Art Newspaper, June 3, 2022



Esmaa Mohamoud: It Cannot Always Be Night
Until 18 June at Arsenal Contemporary, 214 Bowery, Manhattan


From the imposing regality of the wicker chair that opens Esmaa Mohamoud’s exhibition at Arsenal Contemporary to the warmth of being surrounded by laughter, despite the fact that you are alone and plunged into darkness, a sense of community permeates this exhibition. In the large central gallery there is a field of 500 dandelions. Fashioned from steel and painted black, these flowers, which some view as nothing more than weeds, feel as if they are alive, having sprouted from the diamond-plated metal floor. Visitors can ask the gallery staff for a cushion and sit among the rigid blossoms, enveloped in the orange sunset glow that lights the room from above. “I saw parallels between the disposability of black bodies and the innate desire in North America to eradicate this flower,” says Mohamoud. “The strength of this plant is that, despite that effort, they’re never going to go away. And what you think of that relationship to the Black diaspora, it is a beautiful thing.”

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