Lengua, Jinbin Chen, Dev Dhunsi, Ilavenil Vasuky Jayapalan, Margaret Abeshu. Curated by Dahir Hussein
EXHIBITION From 18.03.2023 To 30.04.2023
Lengua, 'Faint Music' (2023). Image by Lengua. All rights reserved to the artist.
Lengua, 'Faint Music' (2023). Image by Lengua. All rights reserved to the artist.

“Indoctrination trains us for obedience and conformity. It discourages us from thinking differently, particularly in dealing with incoming challenges we face every day. We are constantly fed the same arguments where we find protection for the fear of escaping our limited knowledge and realities” says Dahir Hussein, Curator of the exhibition.

Increasing forms of indoctrination mark our contemporaneity, from the naturalization of religious extremisms and state control to technological entrapment and fixed realities. We are trained to obey and conform, to continue normalizing for the sake of function—ready-made and pre-cooked answers constraining our possible futures.

The exhibition Indoctrination: Multivalent Gestures reflects on the de facto diversity of contemporary society to focus on often under- or mis-represented narratives in mainstream discourse. The exhibition wants to refrain from subscribing to a margin versus center paradigm but to articulate and affirm the multiplicity of group-oriented subjectivities, voices, identities, and affiliations in constant formation in the public realm today, deserving more attention to deconstructing prejudicial views on non-conforming identities.

Through Indoctrination: Multivalent Gestures, we enter worlds of subcultures, intracultural roots, queer botany, and the abundance of desire. We are invited to explore and deconstruct the formation of collective identities and subjectivities intersecting multiple factors, from gender identification, sexuality, ethnocultural origins, given geopolitical alliances, the diasporic experience, age, education, taste, lifestyles, and spiritual beliefs. In particular, we follow directly and indirectly the thinking process of five artists, Margaret Abeshu, Jinbin Chen, Dev Dhunsi, Ilavenil Jayapalan, and Lengua, commenting on their interest in the subject, its potential, and limitations through their artwork and experiences. They address the space between self-discovery and multipolar facilitation: from knowing oneself in an individualistic context to “climbing a mountain of humanity” in a deliberate and realized vision.

The first of its kind in Norway, the Fotogalleriet Curatorial Fellowship endorses a full-time position for a year of practice and research towards an exhibition provoking new thought and visual propositions within the arts for people aspiring to make novel claims within the aesthetic field. Dahir Hussein exhibition marks Fotogalleriet’s first Curatorial Fellowship grantee, an effort made possible through the generous funding of Arts Council Norway and Bergesenstiftelsen.

Fotogalleriet Curatorial Fellowship benefitted from the invaluable alliance and collaboration of TrAP and their project Keys to the City (Nøkkel til byen), and further support from Balansekunst. The Curatorial Fellowship was established with an adjunct Youth Advisory Group. Several individuals provided feedback on the pitfalls and propositions for a more expanded visual realm today from the vantage point of art institutions.

The Youth Advisory Group comprises Abdirahman Hasan, Esma Bouhaddouz, Farah Suleman, Hamda Barise, Henny Holtedahl, Robin Hassanieh, and Sair Alam, supported through Kulturtanken. The exhibition is produced by Fotogalleriet, with an additional grant from The Fritt Ord Foundation.

Lengua (b. 1994) is a photographer born in Tenerife, Canary Islands, and living in Berlin, Germany. Working in the fields of portraiture and fashion photography, Lengua’s work has been published in The Gagosian Quarterly, The Face magazine, Re-Edition, and Autre Magazine, among other titles. Creatively, he was brought up in New York under the watch of fashion designer Shayne Oliver as part of an international underground culture.  

Jinbin Chen (b. 1994) is a multidisciplinary artist whose work spans painting, text, object, and sculpture. Born in Guangdong and raised in Xiamen, China, he resides in Oslo. He received his MFA from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in 2021, following his BFA from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, in 2019.

Dev Dhunsi (b. 1996) lives and studies in Stockholm. Dhunsi completed his BFA at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in 2022 and is now a Master’s candidate at The Royal Institute of Arts in Stockholm. Previously Dhunsi published his first photobook, RAKAVAN (2019), with Forlaget Fotografi and is working on a new book to be published with Heavy books.

Ilavenil Vasuky Jayapalan (b. 1991) is a transdisciplinary artist based in Oslo, Norway. Jayapalans works are highly inspired by the world of cinema, music and media. Often evolving around and in between the mechanisms of national consciousness, the notion of freedom, truth and desire to speculative futures that depart from the contemporary fringes of society.

Margaret Abeshu (b. 1990) is an interdisciplinary designer based in Oslo. She has recently graduated from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts with an MFA in fashion and costume design. In her practice, she works with installation, visual, and tactile sartorial presentations. Her works are based on critical theory, art, and fashion in dominant pop culture. She is also strongly influenced by her fragmented childhood memories, personal references, and her experiences with a multicultural identity.