Wall Drawing Series: Marcia Kure

Oct 1, 2021 – Sep 22, 2022
Menil Drawing Institute

The Menil Drawing Institute’s Wall Drawing Series presents a new monumental work by artist Marcia Kure, the third of an ongoing series of ephemeral, site-specific wall drawings. Through her multidisciplinary art practice, Kure explores a wide range of concepts, including colonial legacies and diasporic identities. She is known for compositions that feature Uli line, a Nigerian design motif traditionally drawn on bodies and the walls of homes, as well as her use of natural, plant-based pigments.

Kure’s wall drawing uses the line as a metaphor of contemporary and historical trade routes. In her formulation, the line is not only a mark; it is activated in space through the movement of bodies in daily actions. In NETWORK, the use of kola nut, indigo, tea, and charcoal as drawing media highlights not only their material properties, but their status as commodities that trace and map the African diaspora. These largely invisible networks are traced across space and time, making connections that implicate the viewer in a complex history of migration, labor, and exploitation. Furthering this narrative, the installation comprises two African sculptures placed on pedestals, one in the style of a Mande headdress and the other of a Dogon female figure, modified by the artist with the addition of synthetic hair extensions.

In speaking on the project, Kure said that, for her, “drawing has been a life-long journey. It’s been a language that I’ve been trying to understand for the longest time—from historic South African cave drawings, to collage, to sewing—trying to find my own way of drawing the line. Line is not a mere mark on paper, it’s something that contains memory, purpose, and thought. Line is something that we all engage with daily, our entire body participates in making the mark, implicating us all in a vast interconnected and entangled network that continues beyond the wall.”

Wall Drawing Series: Marcia Kure is curated by Kelly Montana, Assistant Curator, Menil Drawing Institute.

This exhibition is generously supported by Clare Casademont and Michael Metz; Penelope and Lester Marks; Scott and Judy Nyquist; Leslie and Shannon Sasser; and Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister.

About the artist:

Marcia Kure was born in Nigeria and trained under the founding members of the Nsukka School, a group of artists and faculty members associated with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Her work is held in the collections of the British Museum, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, among others. She lives and works in Princeton, New Jersey, and Abuja and Kaduna, Nigeria.
NETWORK by Marcia Kure at the Menil Drawing Institute. The Menil Collection, Houston. Video: Zainob + Mathew Create
Artist Talk: Marcia Kure