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This event is part of a series – see below for details.

4,489, a solo exhibition by Abenda Sohn

11jan6:00 p.m.9:00 p.m.4,489, a solo exhibition by Abenda SohnIn the Gallery at the WaterFire Arts Center, January 11 - February 4

Event Details

Photograph by Abendnego Sohn

The month-long solo exhibition, 4,489, by Abenda Sohn explores the condition of being and belonging through themes of forced migration, memory, and the bond between a father and son. Abednego and Abenda Sohn, a father-son duo, use performative self-portraiture, video installation, and sculptures to delve into the post-Liberia Civil War’s impact on preserving Liberian identity and culture while analyzing the emotional toll of separation and the process of reconstructing what remains through layers of loss. The exhibition is on view from Thursday, January 11 through Sunday, February 4, 2024, with an opening reception on Thursday, January 11th from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Join us for an engaging artist talk, on Thursday, January 18th at 6:00 p.m., where Sohn will collaborate with local historians, artists, and educators, creating a vibrant dialogue that transcends conventional boundaries.

A statement from the artist,

“I am cultivating this surplus of artworks stemming from my ongoing investigation of what it means to be Liberian American. This question is my overarching motivation and a way to grapple with my dual identity; my work deals with memory, heritage, family dynamics, and historical events. To best describe these emotional and complex life experiences, I work interdisciplinary. This way of moving through various modes of communication has made me vastly durable as a thinker, artist, and teacher. My idea for this show is to communicate to and with the sizable Liberian Community in Providence, where I reside.”

History behind Abenda’s current work:

“In 2022, I received a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. It allowed me to journey back to Liberia and reunite with my father after 17 long years of separation caused by the devastating Liberian civil war. Our relationship had suffered due to the challenges of staying connected through limited network coverage and the struggles of maintaining contact via social media and phone calls. However, our emotional reunion sparked a realization that I still felt disconnected and wanted to find a way to connect more with a man and a culture I was once immersed in. This inspired us to embark on a collaborative project to bridge the gaps in our family history and reconstruct the experiences as a way of connecting. We sought to reclaim what had been gone and challenge traditional archival processes. During our time together, I taught my father how to use a digital camera, and then he took photos of me during significant moments in time. We categorized each critical moment based on my father’s different occupations, where he photographed me as him wearing his clothing and posing like him.”

About the Artist

Abenda Sohn is a talented artist from Liberia with a multidisciplinary approach. After graduating from the Rhode Island School Of Design (RISD), he settled in Providence, Rhode Island, where he resides and creates. He was recognized as a Seth Macfarlane fellow during his time at RISD, and he was granted the Michael P. Metcalf Memorial Fund and Christine T. Grinavic Adventurer’s Fund, which allowed him to travel to Liberia. Abenda’s artwork is diverse, from installations to stage photography and sculpture. His work explores the intersections of memory, identity, family, and archives, particularly as they relate to his condition of being. Abenda has shared his knowledge by teaching at various Rhode Island organizations, and he is currently a middle school teacher at Saint Joseph School in Warwick, R.I. Abenda has exhibited his work publicly, including in Downtown Providence, with the “ Who We Are Now ” public photography installations. He had his first solo showcase at Brown Art Institute in 2021 and another exhibition at AS220 in 2022 and has been in countless group exhibitions.


This exhibition is supported by the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism.

The WaterFire Arts Center store + gallery hours are Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to all, donations encouraged. 

Event Times

January 11, 2024 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.(GMT-04:00)


WaterFire Providence

WaterFire Providence® is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy.

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