Midsommar: Anthony Akinbola, Alteronce Gumby, Tariku Shiferaw

8 June - 4 August 2024

Bode is pleased to present Midsommar, a group exhibition with Anthony Akinbola, Alteronce Gumby, and Tariku Shiferaw, celebrating the work of three New York-based contemporary artists throughout a very special time of the year. 


The Midsummer Day, known as the summer solstice festivities, is a celebration of the longest day of the year, rooted in ancient traditions. In Scandinavia it's the time when the midnight sun illuminates the night, so it never gets entirely dark. The sun takes a reddish-yellow color, and everything around is bathed in warm brightness and light. The artists' interpretation of a night sky with its unique constellations of colors is inspired by the magical time of Midsommar. 


Tariku Shiferaw's Mata Semay series (Amharic for "night sky") represents imagined versions of the night sky, evoking the mystical essence of the cosmos. The artist addresses the erasure of Black contribution to society, imagining what the constellations would look like if we honored the symbols and stories of pre-European communities – African and diasporic cultures – that have mapped the night sky for millennia. Thus the artist creates a new collective mythology, addressing the concept of marking and erasure within social constructs. With his fluorescent and chromatic spectrum of iridescent color, Alteronce Gumby expands the notions through which we perceive both the subjectivity of identity, and the materiality on earth and in cosmic space. Challenging the reception of the viewer, Gumby pushes the boundaries of color and form through their intricate web of layers of darkness and light, reflection and interference. The conceptual ready-made fabric works by Anthony Akinbola goes back to the tradition of the durag, which has gained visibility outside of Black culture with the ascendance of hip-hop and rap in the 1990s. By detaching the durag from the wearer, the artist rethinks our presumptions about this piece of cloth and debunks the prejudices about its owner. Being originally totally black, durags in Akinbola’s works are presented in a wide spectrum of colors, like the night sky during the Midsummer season, which is suddenly streaked with light, taking on millions of shades and tones. 


Together, the artists of the exhibition invite us to expand the horizons of perception and break the traditional frameworks of thinking of color, e.g. black does not necessarily mean black – just like the night sky during the Midsommar season.




Anthony Akinbola (b. 1991, Columbia, MO, US) was selected for The Artsy Vanguard 2022, spotlighting the most promising artists working today. He was awarded the Silver Arts Project residency in New York and the Van Lier Fellowship. Akinbola’s work has been featured in solo and group shows at The Queens Museum, NY; the Baltimore Museum of Art, and at the Museum of Art and Design, NY among others. The artist lives and works in New York.


Alteronce Gumby (b. 1985, Harrisburg, PA, US) graduated from Yale University's MFA program where he was awarded the Robert Reed Memorial Scholarship. His work has been featured in solo and duo exhibitions at Parrash Heijnen, Los Angeles; Allentown Art Museum, and at Fondation des États-Unis, Paris, among others. Gumby was listed in The Artsy Vanguard 2021, recognizing the most promising contemporary artists. The artist lives and works in New York.


Tariku Shiferaw (b. 1983, Addis Ababa, ET) received his MFA from Parsons School of Design, New York, US. His work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at Southampton African American Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Saint Louis Museum of Art, California African American Museum, among others. Shiferaw has been invited to take part at art residency at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The artist lives and works in New York.