Dr. Tenley Bick has curated the exhibition Un sentimento di libertà | A Feeling of Freedom: New Italians in the Work of Luigi Christopher Veggetti Kanku, on display January 19–May 6, 2023 at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts (MoFA).
The show celebrates the diverse identities and experiences of “new Italians” in the work of contemporary Afro-Italian artist Luigi Christopher Veggetti Kanku (b. 1978), who is best known for his monumental portraits of Black Italian women. The exhibition includes painted works on paper, some made specifically for this exhibition, as well as digital paintings with NFTS. These new expressionist portraits invite viewers to contemplate a feeling of freedom that comes from rethinking constructs of nationhood, identity, and belonging.
The exhibition is Veggetti Kanku’s first solo show in the United States. A takeaway poster (edition of 500) will be available for visitors; it features an interview with the artist about the work reproduced on the poster. Other elements of the show include a reading nook with Afro-Italian literature and a listening station dedicated to contemporary Italian popular music that addresses and celebrates racially and ethnically diverse Italian identities and experiences through song.
Veggetti Kanku visited FSU for the exhibition opening and a discussion with Dr. Bick on January 19. The artist also met with students in Dr. Bick’s lecture course “Contemporary Arts of Africa and Its Diasporas” and with graduate students in Italian Studies and Art History, thanks to support from those departments.
The exhibition is supported by FSU MoFA, the Department of Art History, and the Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies program.
Dr. Bick’s deepest thanks go to the artist and to the Museum of Fine Arts for their support of the exhibition.
Images, courtesy of the artist: (L) Luigi Christopher Veggetti Kanku, Senza titolo (Untitled), 2022, oil and acrylic on paper, 29.5 x 21.65 in. (75 x 55 cm). (R) Luigi Christopher Veggetti Kanku, Teenager (2021), digital painting with NFT.