Xavier Robles De Medina

'Wan Destination Wanhoop'

In Wan Destination Wanhoop, SCAD alumnus Xavier Robles de Medina (B.F.A., animation, 2012; B.F.A., painting, 2012) excavates images of 20th-century Suriname dating to the country’s independence from the Netherlands in 1975. The works in the exhibition reveal the artist’s meticulous and labored practice of examination and translation.

In a series of three paintings, Robles de Medina appropriates archival video footage of historic flooding in Afobaka that resulted from the construction of the Brokopondo Reservoir in the early 1960s to generate electricity for the aluminum manufacturing giant Suralco. The paintings give witness to the destruction surrounding the dam, showing the submerged Maroon villages that residents were forced to abandon. By unearthing this forgotten history, Robles de Medina documents the violent progress of capitalist industrialization that is rooted in colonization, European imperialism, and anti-blackness, and has had global consequences including environmental calamity.

Signature image for Xavier Robles de Medina exhibition
Xavier Robles de Medina, B.F.A., animation, 2012; B.F.A., painting, 2012, "Dipi Gron Tiri," oil on linen, 27.5" x 59", 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, New York.

Robles de Medina has shown his work internationally across Suriname, the U.S., the U.K., and the Netherlands. He was the youngest nominee for the Prix de Rome Visual Arts and was selected for the shortlist of the Royal Award for Modern Painting at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam in 2016. He has completed residencies at WOW Amsterdam in 2017 and the Dzimbanhete Arts Interactions program in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 2015.

The exhibition is presented as part of SCAD deFINE ART 2020, the university’s annual program of exhibitions, lectures, and performances held Feb. 18–20 at locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.


Install Views


Wan Destination Wanhoop is curated by Ben Tollefson, assistant curator of SCAD exhibitions.

Museum Admission

The exhibition is free for museum members and SCAD students, faculty, and staff with a valid SCAD Card. Open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

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