I am an interdisciplinary artist working across performance, video, installation, collage, and social engagement. Through a hybrid of mediums, I tell overlooked stories that center Black bodies in positions of power and vulnerability. As a research based artist, my work is informed by written and oral archives, literature, dialogical art, and body based, sensory experiences. My work interrogates complex histories of institutionalized and systemic oppression, and asks how it informs our personal experiences and interpersonal relationships.
I often use my own body as a medium in my practice, as well as the bodies of participants or collaborators in my community. I am interested in how documentation and relics preserve live art in the absence of the artist, expanding the lifespan of the work beyond ephemeral moments and becoming art unto themselves. As an Ethiopian-American, my work draws upon traditional African art sensibilities, where visual art and ritual often intersect, and art objects are infused with an experience or aesthetic that can layer their meaning.
The subject of my interdisciplinary projects have ranged from critiquing the bias in art historical cannons that perpetuate myths of Western male exceptionalism; advocating for the overlooked labor of BIPOC women activists; redefining notions of citizenship as it relates to forced (im)migration; and more. In our trying political climate, where Black lives are continuing to fight to matter, and women are courageously calling out sexual violence, my work seeks to reconcile with the complex contradictions of what it means to be an American.
Helina Metaferia is an interdisciplinary artist working across collage, assemblage, video, performance, and social engagement. Her work interrogates the body's relationship to sites, especially as it relates to notions of identity and citizenship.
Metaferia received her MFA from Tufts University’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI; New York University’s The Gallatin Galleries, New York, NY; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Centre, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Mobile, AL, among many others. Her solo exhibition, "Generations," will open at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in Fall 2021.
Metaferia’s work has been supported by several artist residencies including MacDowell, Yaddo, Bemis, MASS MoCA, and Triangle Arts Association. She is a participant of the 2021 Drawing Center’s Viewing Program. Her work has been featured in publications such as Hyperallergic, Artnet News, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and San Francisco Chronicle. Helina is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow / Assistant Professor at Brown University, and lives and works in New York City.