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This groundbreaking commission by Esmaa Mohamoud explores the transformative power of art to express the enduring perseverance and strength of Black girlhood in the face of great adversity.

September 14, 2024–February 16, 2025
Opening Reception: September 13, 2024

About the Exhibition

Esmaa Mohamoud’s groundbreaking exhibition COMPLEX DREAMS places the experiences of young Black girlhood center stage. Responding directly to the unique, Zaha Hadid-designed architecture of the MSU Broad Art Museum, Mohamoud’s newly commissioned installation offers a refreshing and uplifting perspective on the power of Black women today.

The commission in the Julie and Edward J. Minskoff Gallery is joined by Mohamoud’s immersive installation Darkness Doesn’t Rise To The Sun, But We Do (2020), on view in the adjacent William and Linda Demmer Gallery. This work invites visitors to enter a space filled with hundreds of jet-black, steel-cut dandelions, offering pathways for meandering exploration and opportunities for respite amongst the silhouetted dandelions.

This earlier work serves as an entry point for visitors to not only witness a critical shift in the artist’s work and career, but also as a “seed” to understanding the new commission. References to nature and the persistent beauty of life in the forms of dandelions and butterflies are joyful in spirit while also offering a deeper meditation on the experience of Black peoples—past, present, and future.

COMPLEX DREAMS offers a range of experiences across the different landscapes of the galleries. Multisensorial and moving, the works on view speak to the artist’s powerful vision for the liberation of Blackness from the shadows of art history and society at large.

COMPLEX DREAMS is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University as part of the Signature Commission Series and curated by Steven L. Bridges, Interim Director & Senior Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs. Major funding for this exhibition is provided by the MSU Federal Credit Union and the Eli and Edythe Broad Endowed Exhibitions Fund.

Signature Commission Series

The Signature Commission Series is a new initiative, inviting internationally respected artists to respond directly to the iconic architecture of the Julie and Edward Minskoff Gallery. As a part of our efforts to provide world-class, unparalleled art experiences, the series will include engaging events and opportunities for our campus and community.

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