Imo Nse Imeh

March 1 – April 7 2023

Dr. Imo Nse Imeh is a Nigerian-American visual artist and scholar of African Diaspora art. Presently, he is Associate Professor of Art and Art History at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. He is a Columbia University alumnus and received his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Art History from Yale University in 2009.

On view in the South Gallery is Ten Little Nigger Girls—a retelling of a children’s book that was written in 1907 by Nora Case, a British author. The children’s book is comprised of racist stereotypes about black people, particularly black children. The story, which unfolds as a nursery rhyme, features a cast of ten black girls, who are each eliminated one-by-one, and sometimes in horrific ways (for example, one of the black girls is burned alive while making toffee, another is eaten by a bear).

As a response to and revision of the original children’s book, artist Imo Imeh’s series of drawings features contemporary black girls in various states of danger, in the present-day. With each drawing, he seeks to examine the language, history, and realities of ongoing racial subjugation in America, the invisibility of young black people, and the misfortune of how we collectively decide the degree to which we ought to place value on the lives of black children.