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Nyugen E. Smith is an artist living and working in Jersey City, NJ. His practice revolves around the construction of narrative through the prism of Black cultural identity. The manifold ramifications of European colonialism across the African Diaspora serve as the foundation upon which his practice is constructed. Smith adopts a rhizomatic methodology, characterized by its non-linear and interconnected approach, as a means of conceptualizing and realizing creative expression.


Guided by the metaphorical roots of this colonial legacy, Nyugen is interested in the dynamic interplay between various thematic nodes, including architecture, language, performance, ritual, trauma, DNA memory, climate change, and migration. These thematic nodes are woven into the fabric of his practice. The inherent poetry of their relational dynamics guides the creation of the work.

Central to his practice is an emphasis on the utilization of pre-existing materials, the body, and play, within the art-making process. 


Nyugen holds a BA, Fine Art from Seton Hall University and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been presented at the Museum of Latin American Art, Peréz Art Museum, Museum of Cultural History, Norway, Frist Art Museum, Blanton Museum, Newark Museum, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others. Nyugen is the recipient of the Creative Capital Award, Leonore Annenberg Performing and Visual Arts Fund, Franklin Furnace Fund, Dr. Doris Derby Award, New Jersey State Council on the Arts grant, and Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant.

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