Yashua Klos: OUR LABOUR invites viewers to consider how familial, geographic, and narrative histories inform notions of identity. In his practice, the Brooklyn-based artist employs a process of collaging woodblock prints to engage ideas about Blackness as a constructed identity and as an adaptable material for survival. OUR LABOUR features his print-based pieces and sculptures, including a new body of work inspired by a recent life-changing event that led him to gain a deeper understanding of his family’s multigenerational history working at the Ford Motor Company in Detroit. Klos’s approach is a means of both untangling and connecting his own complex and sprawling genealogy.

With this exhibition, Klos also introduces works conceived around an examination of labor through both deeply personal and historic lenses. Debuting at the Wellin is a sweeping, mixed-media collage on canvas entitled “OUR LABOUR.” Inspired by Diego Rivera’s iconic “Detroit Industry Murals” (1932–33), Klos uses Rivera’s mural as a compositional structure “but prioritizes the Black men and women who are absent from Rivera’s depiction, and who represent this branch of my family.” Faceless workers are replaced by the artist’s family members including a portrait of his father alongside his father’s 14 siblings and their children. Taken together with over a dozen other artworks — including the collaborative mural “When the Parts Untangle,” realized with the assistance of Hamilton College students, and four wall-mounted sculptures that are a composite of industrial welding and traditional African masks representing an amalgam of the artist’s “genealogical and creative DNA” — this exhibition marks new creative and personal terrain.

For more information, visit hamilton.edu/wellin.

Yashua Klos: OUR LABOUR continues at the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College (198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY) through June 12, 2022. The exhibition is curated by Tracy L. Adler, Johson-Pote Director, Wellin Museum.

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