Joyce Award Winners

Regina Agu with Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago



Regina Agu and Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago are one of the five winners of the 2023 Joyce Awards, which lift up collaborations between artists of color and arts and community organizations throughout the Great Lakes region.

“Community memory is key to this project, and this work will open up space to explore the unique spatial politics and landscape-based practices of contemporary Black lakeside communities in Chicago and the wider Great Lakes, and the impacts of migration, diaspora, segregation, and other intertwined histories.” –Regina Agu

Multidisciplinary artist Regina Agu will create Shore|Lines, a large-scale panoramic installation and exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP) that will explore community memory within Black Midwestern lakeside communities, tracing legacies of historical migration from the Gulf South region to the Great Lakes. Using methods of oral history, photography, and archival research, her work examines waterways and natural environments as defining sites of Black life and belonging. Agu will work closely with MoCP Associate Curator Asha Iman Veal throughout the project and will collaborate with South Side Chicago residents to create a documentation text which Agu refers to as a “field guide,” to be presented alongside the exhibition. Through extended, sustained engagement, Shore|Lines will bring community knowledge and values into photographic representation, using photo images as a medium for relating ideas and themes of Black cultural memory connected to place.

About Regina Agu
Regina Agu was born in Houston, TX and raised between the United States, Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Africa, and Switzerland. She relocated to Chicago at the beginning of 2020, where she now lives and works. Her work has been included in exhibitions, public readings, publications, and performances internationally. Agu was a 2022 Radicle artist-in-residence in the Jackman Goldwasser Residency at Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. Recent exhibitions include the 2021 Atlanta Biennial: Of Care and Destruction and the 2021 Texas Biennial: A New Landscape, A Possible Horizon. Her first solo museum show, Passage, was presented at the New Orleans Museum of Art (2019-2020). Agu’s work has been supported by an Artadia Houston award, grants from Houston Arts Alliance, The Idea Fund, and the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts + Project Row Houses fellowship at the University of Houston for her research project A Psychogeography of Emancipation Park. She has attended residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans through a partnership with For Freedoms, A Studio in the Woods, Open Sessions at The Drawing Center in NYC, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Lawndale Artist Studio Program, among others. From 2014-2017, Agu was the codirector of Alabama Song, a collaboratively run art space in Third Ward, Houston, which received a 2016 SEED grant from The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Agu is the founder of the Houston-based WOC Reading Group, and her other collaborative projects include Friends of Angela Davis Park. Agu holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

About the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) is a world premier college art museum dedicated to photography. As an international hub, the Museum generates ideas and provokes dialogue among students, artists and diverse communities through groundbreaking exhibitions and programming. Its mission is to cultivate a deeper understanding of the artistic, cultural and political roles of photography in the world today. Founded in 1976 by Columbia College Chicago as the successor to the Chicago Center for Contemporary Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Photography began collecting in the early 1980s and has since grown its collection to include over 16,800 objects by 1,800 artists. The MoCP is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Regina Agu, Passage, 2019. Digital print on Samba Opaque, 4 panels total dimension 100 ft x 6 ft. Image courtesy of the New Orleans Museum of Art. Photography by Roman Alokhin.

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