MUSEUM OF ART AND DESIGN AT MDC PRESENTS
Germane Barnes: Ukhamba, Second In Annual Series of Moad Pavilions
Miami, September 18, 2023 – The Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) at Miami Dade College (MDC) presents Germane Barnes: Ukhamba, a new commission by the Museum and the second installment in an annual series of MOAD Pavilions. Designed by Germane Barnes, Miami-based artist, architect, and educator, Ukhamba will be sited on the Building 1 Plaza at MDC’s Wolfson Campus from November 12, 2023–February 24, 2024, and on MDC’s North Campus from March 11 to May 26, 2024.
Named after a type of African woven wood basket, Ukhamba is a 10-foot-tall circular structure built of curved wooden elements stacked in horizontal layers. Its construction, with four arched entrances, invites visitors to walk inside and congregate but allows the surrounding plaza and urban landscape to remain visible through the structure. Inspired by Barnes’s time working abroad in South Africa, as well as in Miami, Ukhamba not only responds to Miami’s sub-tropical climate but also unites architectural elements typical of diasporic communities of African and Caribbean origin. It comprises a pavilion that appears part basket and part traditional breeze wall.
Ukhamba is a space for reflection on our relationship to the built environment, urban design, its histories, and cultural memories. Barnes’s pavilion continues the artist’s exploration of themes of spatial identity, migration, the cultural influences of the African diaspora, and its contributions to classical architecture. Primarily using materials found in South Florida, the artist has focused on sustainability and has designed a structure in dialogue with the history and natural environment that surrounds it.
Barnes stated, “This is an amazing opportunity that allows me to continue honoring diverse legacies and cultures. My first semi-permanent pavilion, this structure combines the influences of the many places I have called home—and abstracts those memories into built form.”
Ukhamba will be inaugurated during the Miami Book Fair (November 12–19, 2023) and is sited within the 40th annual Miami Book Fair Street Fair (November 17–19). The inaugural activities feature a discussion, “Architecture and the African Diaspora,” between Barnes and noted artist and architect Olalekan Jeyifous, recent winner of the Silver Lion at the 2023 Venice Architecture Bienale, centered around the 2021 MoMA publication Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, which includes contributions by each of them. Additional public programs accompanying the pavilion include an artist-led architectural tour of historic Overtown, a Junkanoo band performance in the pavilion, and other events that will be announced on MOAD’s website and social media channels.
Born in Chicago, Germane Barnes received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Architecture from Woodbury University, where he was awarded the Thesis Prize for his project Symbiotic Territories: Architectural Investigations of Race, Identity, and Community. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor and the Director of The Community Housing & Identity Lab (CHIL) at the University of Miami School of Architecture, a testing ground for the physical and theoretical investigations of architecture’s social and political resiliency. His work has been featured in international institutions most notably, The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco MoMA, LACMA, Chicago Architecture Biennial, MAS Context, The Graham Foundation, The New York Times, Architect Magazine, DesignMIAMI/Art Basel, Metropolis Magazine, Domus, Wallpaper* Magazine, and The National Museum of African American History, where he was identified as one of the future designers on the rise.
Barnes’s award-winning research and design practice investigates the connection between architecture and identity, examining architecture’s social and political agency through historical research and design speculation. Mining architecture’s social and political agency, he examines how the built environment influences Black domesticity.
Germane Barnes: Ukhamba is the second in a series of annual commissioned MOAD Pavilions, curated by Isabela Villanueva, MOAD Consulting Curator. The first, Rafael Domenech’s Estuary [Pavilion for MOAD], opened at the MDC Wolfson Campus in November 2022 and was later reconfigured at the MDC Kendall Campus.
MOAD’s programs are made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor, and the Board of County Commissioners. They are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, the Department of State, the Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
WHAT: Germane Barnes: Ukhamba
WHEN: Sunday, November 12, 2023, through Saturday, February 24, 2024 (Wolfson Campus)
Monday, March 11 through Sunday, May 26, 2024 (North Campus)
WHERE: Building 1 Plaza, MDC Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. Second Avenue, Downtown Miami
MDC North Campus (exact location TBA)