Senior Josué Bessiake Exhibits Solo Show in Boston

October 18, 2023

Montserrat senior (and student trustee) Josué Bessiake (’24) has a new exhibition opening in Boston this Friday.


H301 is a solo with Gallery Kayafas. The show title should be familiar to anyone in the Montserrat community, as should certain floor tiles that appear among Bessiake’s other recent work. The pieces in H301 range from clearly representational to highly abstracted, but all clearly engage with the world that immediately surrounds Bessiake. This artistic focus with the nearby and next door is a through line in Bessiake’s work, as Kayafas explains:

Josue Bessiake is an African American painter working in Beverly, Massachusetts whose work is heavily influenced by his environment. Born to immigrant parents from Côté d’Ivoire, Bessiake grew up primarily in the Midwest. His family moved frequently, allowing him to observe a multitude of settings and environments that have subsequently shaped how he looks at the world. Due in part to his itinerant upbringing, Bessiake is constantly asking how the things he observes can be transformed, or perhaps should they be transformed.

Bessiake is influenced by histories of art as a means to explore his sense of place in the world as an artist. Working primarily from life, he seeks to take up the same space as his subjects. This helps Bessiake to see more deeply and gain a sense of empathy for the people and places he paints. Bessiake’s work ranges from abstract to representational, often depicting his immediate environment, such as his peers, his studio, hallways, and everyday objects that surround him. Bessiake’s palette seeks to capture the ways in which light transforms his subjects and surroundings.

The opening reception for H301 will be held this Friday, October 20th, at Gallery Kayafas on 450 Harrison Ave in Boston. It will then run until November 25th.

Additionally, Bessiake recently co-curated an exhibition entitled A Familiar Form with MassArt student Ricky Vasan. The show displays work by students from both schools, and is envisioned as a way to bridge the gap between the two institutions and develop a stronger relationship between the two art colleges. A Familiar Form is on display at 621 Huntington Avenue in Boston and closes this weekend, concluding on Oct 21st.

If you find yourself in Boston this weekend, take the time to check out some amazing work by one of Montserrat’s seniors. We’ll see you there!