Lina Iris Viktor: A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred.
October 5, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Lina Iris Viktor is widely recognized for her exploration of art’s connection to history, spirituality, and prophecy. Recasting factual and fantastical narratives surrounding America’s involvement in the founding of Liberia, Lina Iris Viktor: A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred. explores a mythicized history of the West African nation.
Viktor created a new body of work for NOMA’s Great Hall that explores the factual and fantastical narratives surrounding America’s involvement in the founding of the West African nation of Liberia.
Founded in 1822 by the American Colonization Society, Liberia was originally conceived of as a conduit for the resettlement of free-born and formerly enslaved black Americans in Africa, in large part due to fear of an uprising upon the abolition of slavery. Throughout A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred., Viktor reimagines Liberia’s colonial past through the lens of the “Libyan Sibyl” figure of classical antiquity, who was said to predict ill-fated futures and would later re-emerge as a common motif in the art and literature of the American abolitionist movement. Viktor, who was raised in London to Liberian parents, is widely recognized for her richly gilded paintings, works on paper and installations that interweave references to modern and traditional West African textile culture, cosmic abstractions and evocative figurative imagery.
The first major museum exhibition of Viktor’s work, Lina Iris Viktor: A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred., created specifically for the Great Hall, was organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and is on view through January 6, 2019.
Image: Lina Iris Viktor, Yaa Asantewaa, 2016, 24-karat gold, acrylic, gouache, print on matte canvas, 52 x 40 in., Courtesy of the artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery