Chicken Pox II
This work directly references America’s constant gun violence that plagues the country, which the artist considers as grave as an epidemic. This work is part of the artist's signature mask series, where the artist manipulates tribal objects that are representative of Africa—often creating immediate and acute commentary on our contemporary society. Massillon’s works force us to pause and contemplate our collective tribulations.
Encompassing sculpture, painting and photography, Emmanuel Massillon’s work examines the convoluted history of race, identity and culture and its relation to people of African descent. The artist uses language alongside physical materials—such as bullet shells, dirt and other found objects—to connect African folklore and folk art to the present African American experience. Massillon’s use of puns in his composition’s titles allude to the street vernacular used in his hometown of Washington DC—as well as referencing genres of African American music, which the artist believes to be one of the main preservers of Black culture in America.
Emmanuel Massillon, born in 1998, is currently pursuing a BFA at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Solo exhibitions of Massillon’s work include: As Clear As Mud at Swivel Gallery in New York City (2021); The Complexity and Cost of Identity No.2 Autotune Machine at Housing Gallery in New York City (2021); and a show at Galerie Julien Cadet in Paris, France (2022).
Group exhibitions of Massillon’s work include: Identity Crisis at Black Artist Research Space in Baltimore, Maryland (2021); Part of a Witness at Black Artist Research Space in Baltimore, Maryland (2021); Melrose at Harpers Melrose in Los Angeles, California (2021); Carpe Diem at UTA Artist Space in Los Angeles, California (2021); A Gathering at The Housing Gallery in New York City (2021); Concurrence at SVA Gallery in New York City (2021); In the Time of the Improbable at SVA Gallery in New York City (2021); Across the Surface / On the Edge, an online exhibition with SVA Gallery (2020), The Giveback Exhibition at The Gallery Wish x Sprite in Atlanta, Georgia (2020); The Cookout: Kinfolk and Other Intimacies, at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in New York City (2020); Here We Are at SVA Gramercy Gallery in New York City (2019); Mirrored Display at SVA Gramercy Gallery in New York City (2019); Night In The Garden Group Show at St. John's University Gallery in New York City (2017); LIU Brooklyn Art Department Showing at LIU Brooklyn in New York City (2017); Bloom Group Art Show at Pyramid Gallery in Silver Spring, Maryland (2016); The Art of Politics Group Art Show at Pyramid Gallery in Silver Spring, Maryland (2016); The Unknown Group Art Show at Creative Acts Learning Center Gallery in Washington, D.C. (2015); and Contrast Group Art Showing in Washington, D.C. (2014).
Massillon has curated two group shows: Through Our Eyes, an online exhibition for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (2020); and Here We Are at the SVA Gramercy Gallery in New York City (2019).
Massillon has received numerous awards and grants, including: The Silas H. Rhodes Scholarship; a District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities Exhibitions (Curatorial) Grant; and The Giveback Grant from The Gallery Wish x Sprite.
Massillon was selected for an UN/MUTE-10002-Virtual residency sponsored by Undercurrent and the EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC).
Massillon’s work has been covered in numerous publications, including: Artsy, Hyperallergic, Architectural Digest, Visual Opinion, and Washington Citypaper, among others.
Massillon lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.