In Alosúgbe: a journey across time, Onajide Shabaka’s debut exhibition at Emerson Dorsch, Shabaka explores biology and ethnobotany in the form of recent photography, works on paper and sculpture. These media serve as material for understanding the migrations of both humans and plants during the Atlantic colonial slave era to the present. This exhibition derives from several years of ongoing research finding connections between colonial sites in the Low Country (Georgia & South Carolina), the Caribbean archipelago and Suriname.

Shabaka builds origin stories with art works that are at once delicate and immense. Arrowhead shaped columns and serpentine designs are delicately hand cut and painted and collaged onto stiff paper. His practice is concerned with historical/biographical themes related to geography that include African diaspora and Native American cultures. Using ethnobotany, geology and the performative as aesthetic vehicles for investigating and making historical/ biographical themes, his art practice comes into being through complex institutions, histories, human experiences. Shabaka’s writing and curatorial practice focuses largely on contemporary art and culture, and subject specific research.

Onajide Shabaka (born 1948 Cincinnati, OH. Lives in Miami, FL) studied at California College of the Arts and received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He has shown his work in solo exhibitions in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, TX and Potsdam, Germany, among others. His work has been included in numerous group shows over the years, including exhibitions at Project Row Houses In Houston, TX, PRIZM Art Fair in Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art of North Miami, Edna Manley College of the Arts in Kingston, Jamaica, Wayne State University in Detroit, MI and Emerson Dorsch in Miami, to name a few. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including, recently, The Ellies, a public sculpture commission for the Carrie Meeks Foundation building in Opa Locka, FL, and a Wavemaker Grant.


Alosúgbe is funded in part by The Ellies, Miami’s visual arts awards, presented by Oolite Arts. Support for Alosúgbe also provided in part by Locust Projects through its Wavemaker Grants program, which is part of the Andy Warhol Foundation’s Regional Regranting Program. Wavemaker Grants is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, and Wells Fargo. With generous project support from Disapora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (Miami) and ReadyTex Gallery (Paramaribo, Suriname).

Emerson Dorsch
5900 NW 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33127