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Born in 1990 in the city of Angeles in the Philippines, now residing in Düsseldorf (Germany). Nicholas Grafia is an American postwar and contemporary artist whose impressive visual narrations are an introspective display of post-colonial trauma, the experience of slavery, universal folklore and mythological epitomes. His newest exhibition titled Soul Burner, is part of Grafia's graduation installation which is now on view again at Koenig2 in Vienna until May 22.

The artist states that “the title sets the meditative tone for the exhibition, and alludes to those 'burning questions,' as well a certain kind of restlessness in the soul.” His creative choices of objects and images address the negative impact of groups and individuals that are, even more so since the pandemic hit, pushed further towards the borders of society. His paintings unwittingly reveal the fluid references to folklore, mythology and the remarkable understanding of negotiating the problematic facets of pop-cultural icons within modern society.

Grafia's art inspires dialogue of modern civilisation and colonial history. They are reflections that are illuminated through peculiar colour schemes and flexible almost elastic designs that at any odd moment could shape-shift into something far from the mind’s trail. They are “like Mystique from the X-Men comics, who is one of my favourite characters. Being a shape-shifter also means adaptability and flexibility. I feel like this trait is one that marginalised subjects often inhabit... especially in certain hostile and alienating conditions, due to patriarchy, white supremacy, and late-capitalismm,” Grafia sharply reflects back to some of his studies and notable art pieces.

Emma Smit
Philipp Friedrich

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