October 2015 - January 2016

Existential Crisis: A solo film exhibition featuring select works by Akosua Adoma Owusu. Owusu's uniquely visceral style of filmmaking and storytelling possesses a rhythmic quality that allows viewers to experience and internalize the subject matter in a hyper-hypnotic way. Her films incite feelings of anxiety, discomfort, separation, peace or reconciliation, invading and coercing the viewing experience. These films embody the artist’s response to a current culture where she finds herself suspended in a never-ending existential crisis, moving through the world as spectacle. She is, at once, “too” Ghanaian in America and “too” American in Ghana, she seeks to locate a space between the two worlds that she can call home.

Much of Owusu’s works address a collision of identities, where the African immigrant located in the United States has a triple consciousness. The triple consciousness is experienced as; in the African diaspora having to assimilate to white American culture in order to succeed in American society; the African immigrant often being grouped and identified with African Americans in the eyes of others, mostly due to a shared skin color; and many Africans not necessarily identifying with African American culture and history; their distinct culture rendered marginal.

Owusu’s films allow audiences to engage in a new dialogue between Africa and America. This dialogue includes both conventionalized and un-conventionalized discourse on race, creating complex contradictions. Owusu’s compelling vision advances radical new meaning that can be woven into universal consciousness and societal framework. 

Existential Crisis is curated by Jovan C. Speller for the Rochester Art Center