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The Hope of Radiance by Imo Imeh

About The Hope of Radiance

Location: Claude Worthington Benedum Gallery
Dates: February 17, 2023 – April 2, 2023

The Hope of Radiance brings together art works and texts created between 2020 – 2022 that are part of Dr. Imo Nse Imeh’s developing project titled Benediction. The exhibition addresses Imeh’s emotional and spiritual tumult during the pandemic period, when the world went silent under lockdown and became an unwitting witness to the horrors of Black life.

With the Benediction series, Imeh tells the story of a group of angels that have been cast down to earth and bound to the skins of Black boys and men. The angels’ task is to serve as witnesses to the traumas and triumphs that they experience through their “hosts.” A “benediction” is a short invocation, a prayer for help or guidance, usually given at the end of a service of worship. But a benediction is also often a declaration that comes at the commencement of something wonderful. In Imeh’s work, “benediction” speaks to both the death and resurrection of Black men.

The Hope of Radiance guides us down a road of reflection about Black boys and men, faith and despair, solitude, loss, and the realities of the human condition. The question at the center of this project considers the cyclicality of Black trauma and triumph, and the hope for acknowledgement, beauty, resplendence, and so much more.


About The Artist Dr. Imo Nse Imeh

Dr. Imo Nse Imeh is a visual artist and scholar of African Diaspora art, whose work considers historical and philosophical issues around the Black body and cultural identity.

Dr. Imeh’s work has been exhibited in numerous public venues including the Fine Arts Center Galleries of Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio), the Sigal Museum of the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society (Easton, Pennsylvania), the Mariposa Museum (Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts), University Museum of Contemporary Art (Amherst, Massachusetts), the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (Grand Rapids, Michigan). His work is represented in the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art; in the museum collection of the University of Massachusets, Amherst; as well as in a number of private collections; and it has been featured by the PBS News Hour, New England Public Media, Orion Magazine, and in the contemporary art and culture magazine Art New England. In 2023 a series of Dr. Imeh’s works will appear on the covers of six issues of the medical journal Biological Psychiatry, edited by Dr. John Krystal of Yale University. Dr. Imeh has been the recipient of a Project Evolution Grant from the ValleyCreates Program of Mass MoCA and The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, a Holyoke Cultural Council Grant, and Springfield Cultural Council Grant.

Imeh earned a BA from Columbia University in 2002 and PhD in the History of African Art from Yale University in 2009. He is Associate Professor of Art and Art History at Westfield State University in Massachusetts.