The mural “What doze d horizon mean?” by Atlanta artist Wihro Kim is featured in the exhibition “Of Origins and Belonging, Drawn From Atlanta” at the High Museum of Art. Contributed by High Museum of Art/Mike Jensen
Wihro Kim has created a unique mural for “Of Origins” applied directly to the wall in layers of color and paper sketches that play with ideas of perspective, perception and a complex point of view. The piece could easily serve as a metaphor for the immigrant experience with its split identities and complicated view of the world. More troubling in their implication, the men in Jamaican-born artist Cosmo Whyte’s oversized drawings contort in some rictus of dancing or distress, conveying with their backbends and splayed bodies what feels like a human hieroglyphics of bending to impossible expectations. Like much of the work in the show, the operative mood is of people grappling with the challenges of assimilation and dislocation.
“On Belonging” features Jamaican-born, Atlanta-based artist Cosmo Whyte’s “Sweet, Sweet, Back” in charcoal and gold leaf on paper. Contributed by the High Museum of Art
Haunting for their glimpse into the primal darkness of the cosmos, Shanghai-born artist Xie Caomin’s drawings in graphite and silver leaf on paper are stand-outs in “Of Origins and Belonging,” like looking backward into history or being pulled into contemplation of eternity. While a work like “The Broken Other” in which an Asian couple’s faces have been erased plays into the same theme of erasure seen in other “Of Origins” work, pieces like “The Buddha on Elysium Beach (Baby Buddha with Tiger)” simply conjure up a feeling of existential musing. The work is sensory and transportive, plunging viewers into sensations of displacement, disorientation and drifting.
This ambitious exhibition should be essential viewing for residents of this dynamic city; it chronicles the wonderful diversity of the people who live in Atlanta and gives this place its character and heart.
Chinese-born Atlanta artist Xie Caomin is featured in the drawing exhibition “Of Origins and Belonging, Drawn From Atlanta” which features six Atlanta artists dealing with issues of place and identity. His work “The Buddha on Elysium Beach (Baby Buddha with Tiger)” in graphite and silver leaf on paper appears in the show. Contributed by the High Museum of Art
“Of Origins and Belonging, Drawn From Atlanta”
Through Sept. 29. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and Saturdays; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays; noon-5 p.m. Sundays. $14.50, ages 6 and above; free for children 5 and younger and members. High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4444, high.org
Bottom line: An opportunity to contemplate the American experience from another point of view, this group show thoughtfully fugues on the immigrant experience and themes of displacement.