Massa Lemu: The Sea Hums Bearing Strange Gifts

Exhibition Opening
Thursday, May 10 2018, 6-8pm

Oakwood Arts
3511 P St
Richmond, VA

Please join Oakwood Arts for the opening reception of an exhibition of work by our inaugural artist-in-residence, Massa Lemu, in what will become our project space.


These are the experiences and impetuses behind Massa Lemu’s latest work, a site-specific installation at Oakwood Arts. Lemu is a multidisciplinary Malawian artist, and this project charts his own experiences as an immigrant who has lived in Virginia, Georgia, Texas, and Cape Town, South Africa. Lemu’s work is unified in its concerns about migrant experience and the ecosystem as they exist under global capitalism. Through this installation, a multiplicity of subjectivities – ways of seeing, doing, and being – are made manifest in a collection of found objects from the building Oakwood Arts now inhabits, borrowed words, and lived experiences that are at once deeply personal and shared.

“The Sea Hums Bearing Strange Gifts” straddles the collective histories of transatlantic migration and refugee experience as well as the history of the space, what was once a community church building since fallen into disrepair. In this project, the macrocosm and the microcosm are merged, presenting a multivalent space that represents a wide range of experiences, narratives, and histories.

This site-specific installation is exclusive to Oakwood Arts, and will be available to view by the public by appointment following the reception May 10th.