DeShawn Dumas



Repent & Rebel # 1 and #2, 2019, burnt cellulose, anodized spray paint, on wood panel. (MoAD Installation)

 DeShawn Dumas’ is occupied by U.S. slavery’s unresolved unfolding. In painting, he turns the conventions of modern art and the aesthetics of telecommunication devices towards the socio-cultural experiences of Black lives lived in and above euro-ethnic inhumanity. Inhabiting the terror of a past not yet past, his Ballistic Testimonies mirror socialized death as a radical and salvific subjectivity. Dumas uses chromaticism and objecthood to index  U.S. racecraft; the magical way that breathing Black children, women, and men magnetize bullets and weaponize sidewalks, cellphones, cigarettes, and toy guns.  In video, his work pairs extrajudicial street executions and arbitrary captivity (afterlives of a U.S. caste system) with climate catastrophe.  A global climate disaster (or ecocide) first initiated by the genocidal project of Western colonialism, then codified by industrial liberal democratic capitalism and its corollary: identification with white personhood — a biological, cultural and spiritualized superiority complex — that already and always foreclosed the possibility of the human race.

DeShawn Dumas  (b. 1985, Elkhart, IN) is represented by Ethan Cohen Fine Arts (New York, NY). In the Culture & Theory Ph.D. program at the University of California Irvine, he earned his MA/MFA from Pratt Institute; and recently completed  an AICAD Postgraduate Teaching fellowship at San Francisco Art Institute. Selected exhibitions include the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, Kravets/Wehby Gallery (New York, NY), Janet Kurnatowski Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture (Charlotte, NC), and the  Dukley Art Center (Kotor, Montenegro).