Watch as Helina Metaferia performs a newly commissioned live work from her Refiguring the Canon series. In this series, Metaferia transforms history into mythology, and interrogates its emphasis on western male exceptionalism. Transforming iconic abstract artworks from museum permanent collections into backdrops for performance interventions, Metaferia uses simple gestures to assert her Ethiopian-American female body into a cannon where women and people of color have historically been negated, while being appropriated (i.e. the “primitivism” influence in Modernism).

Helina Metaferia is an interdisciplinary artist working across collage, assemblage, video, performance, and social engagement. Her work integrates archives, somatic studies, and dialogical practices, creating overlooked narratives that amplify BIPOC/femme bodies.

This performance was filmed at the Des Moines Art Center on April 12, 2024 in concert with the exhibition, “States of Becoming.”