2024 MFA Thesis Exhibition: Incandescent

Event Date: 

Friday, May 17, 2024 - 12:00am to Sunday, June 9, 2024 - 11:45pm

Despite the relentless cycle of global conflicts, colonization, erasure, and human rights violations, questions linger on our minds: who are we making art for, why does art matter when unconscionable suffering occurs, and how can we challenge and dismantle hegemonic and oppressive systems through the act of making? 

Though art alone cannot fully resolve these issues, it possesses the power to ignite hearts, spark discourse, and amplify visibility and compassion.

Drawing from Michel Serres' notion of incandescence, art emphasizes the interconnectedness of humans and nature, underscoring a shared, unfolding history. The act of making can be a means of reclaiming and honoring ancestry, culture, and identity. Across divergent practices ranging from sculpture to painting and performance, a luminous resistance emerges. This incandescence positions our work against dominant oppressive narratives, centering decolonization in the process.

We are a diverse cohort of artists with heritage from Mexico, Nigeria, Iran, the Philippines, and beyond, and have found cohesion, commonality, and unity regardless of our disparate backgrounds. As we create, we grapple with relentless exploitation, genocide, and struggles, like those unfolding across Palestine, Sudan, Congo, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We continue to resist, protest, rally, and to cry out. We seek to understand how histories are lost, diasporas form, and how we empathetically mourn. From within us, this incandescent glow generates our art making, healing, and resistance.


Panteha Abareshi’s work situates itself in the crook of discomfort, yet greets the audience with technicolor- inviting an examination of the sick//disabled subjectivity, and dissecting the manner in which fetishization festers within dynamics of imbalanced power.
Informed by immediate surroundings and experiences, Dannah Mari Hidalgo traverses and attempts to reconcile the familial and communal space with one's individuality, personal pursuits, and desires. 
Diego Melgoza Oceguera, AKA Melgo, portrays familial stories and personal narratives through a variety of mediums (painting, clay sculpture, experimental video, sound, and art installation) that reclaim identity through a pluriversal perspective. 
Diego Melgoza Oceguera, alias Melgo, representa historias familiares e historias  personales a través de una variedad de medios (pintura, esculturas de barro, video experimental, sonido, e instalación artística) que reclaman su identidad a través de una perspectiva pluriversal.
Interdisciplinary artist Hope Okere invites viewers to become immersed in diasporic hybridity and translations of Yoruba and Igbo Nigerian culture through movement and sculpture.
Lyra Purugganan is an artist and lover working to subvert dominant Western narratives through material disobedience, craft practices, and installation.
Mariana Rodela appropriates the soccer field as a platform for critique of institutions, culture, and capitalism, examines the spectacle of the sporting event, and aspires to create a universally neutral mascot.
As a YouTube metallurgist, Lela Shahrzad Welch is embracing failure through sculpture, speculative fiction, and time-based media to create (un)monuments of oral histories lost to addiction, war, and migration.
للا شهرزاد ولچ به عنوان یک متالورژیست در یوتیوب، با استفاده از مجسمه‌سازی، داستان‌نویسی تخیلی و رسانه‌های مبتنی بر زمان، شکست را در آغوش گرفته است تا (نا)یادمان‌هایی از
تاریخ‌های شفاهی که به دلیل اعتیاد، جنگ و مهاجرت از دست رفته‌اند، خلق 

Image: Hope Okere, Interfaces, 2023, Medium: Video (color, sound) Aspect Ratio 16:9, Run time: 6:00 min

Saturday, June 1, 2024 - 8:00pm (Doors at 7:30pm) | Red Barn (Old Gym), UCSB

movement:::Water / movement:::Support is a movement art performance by interdisciplinary artist, Hope Okere. Explorations in identity, diaspora, modern dance, and improvisation are presented in immersive color field environments. Choreographed by Hope Okere.