University of Southern Indiana

New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art

Modou Dieng Yacine, Lycee Faidherbe, 2021 Mixed media on printed photograph

Modou Dieng Yacine

Utopia Land

July 9 – August 27, 2022

New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art, University of Southern Indiana is proud to present Utopia Land featuring mixed media works by Modou Dieng Yacine. In this solo exhibition, Chicago-based artist Modou Dieng Yacine builds upon architectural imagery from New Orleans, LA and his hometown of Saint-Louis, Senegal to imagine an ideal place. Utopia Land runs from July 9 – August 27, 2022, opening with a reception on July 9 from 4 – 6 pm CT, in conjunction with July’s New Harmony Second Saturday. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturdays, 10 am – 5 pm CT. 

Modou Dieng Yacine’s constructive and de-constructive work in Utopia Land creates new landscapes out of colonial structures. The work in the exhibition considers two French colonial towns connected by trade routes across the Atlantic Ocean—Saint-Louis, Senegal and New Orleans, Louisiana—linked by their shared history, built environment, and cultural significance. Parallels in architectural styles—from ironwork balconies, stucco facades, and shuttered windows—visually unite the two port cities’ shared roles in the development of the modern world. 

Integrated into this series are architectural and aesthetic concepts around “asymmetrical parallelism” [le parallelisme asymetrique], a term coined by African poet and philosopher Léopold Sédar Senghor. Defined as “a diversified repetition of rhythm in time and space,” Dieng Yacine reflects this conception through a painting style that utilizes both an inspired mark-making and intentional geometries. 

Dieng Yacine incorporates accessible materials into his paintings, such as cardboard fragments, denim pieces, vinyl records, and photographs of African objects, manufacturing a spacial occupation of an abstracted space. While developing these layered surfaces, he cuts into his canvases, removing part of the façade and revealing the form—or a hollow interior. While grounded in the histories of two physical locations, Utopia Land imagines a transcendent place that celebrates African identity and postcolonial futures.

Modou Dieng Yacine was born in Saint-Louis, Senegal. He is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the symbolic and mythological power of pop culture through mixed media and hybrid materials. His work constructs a mural of archetypal cultural imagery filtered through the perspective of a split identity between Blackness and Western Philosophy. Dieng Yacine has exhibited internationally and is the cofounder of Blackpuffin, a curatorial company, based in Chicago, IL. Dieng Yacine holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (San Francisco, CA).  

New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art at University of Southern Indiana promotes discourse about and access to contemporary art in the southern Indiana region. New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art is a proud outreach partner of the University of Southern Indiana. nhgallery.com

This exhibition is made possible in part by the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, and the Indiana Arts Commission, which receives support from the State of Indiana and the National Endowment for the Arts.

                 Indiana Arts Commision                     National Endowment for the Arts


Inquires: NewHarmony.Gallery@usi.edu

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