Revealing Human Realities Through Material Expressions

A review of the Art Exhibition, Alexandre Diop: Jooba, Jubba, L’art Du Defi, The Art Of Challenge, At The Rubell Museum In Washington, DC

Oluseyi Akinyode
2 min readApr 20, 2024
Mondo Carne (Dog World), 2022 by Alexandre Diop, Rubell Museum

The Rubell Museum is a must-see in DC’s Southwest waterfront neighborhood for those eager to dip their toes into contemporary art. Located in the former Randall Junior High School, the museum offers a unique opportunity to sample the private collection of Mera and Don Rubell. Founded two years ago, the museum reflects the Rubells’ commitment to making art accessible and creating dialogue within the community.

The Art of the Challenge part of the Alexandre Diop: Jooba, Jubba, L’Art du Defi, the Art of Challenge exhibit at the museum, showcases five potent works by the French-Senegalese artist. Diop tackles complex themes such as colonialism’s lingering effects, violence, and suffering. While the themes he explores are timeless, his choice of found materials adds a fresh perspective, transforming them into a powerful commentary on the contemporary issues he grapples with.

In Le Mensonge d’État (The Lie of The State), Diop repurposes text, wood, door hinges, and plastic to create a compelling reinterpretation of Olympia, Edouard Manet’s once-controversial masterpiece. Diop engages in dialogue with viewers by incorporating a ripped cover of Civilisation Ou Babarie, a seminal work by African historian and anthropologist Cheikh Anta Diop.

Honi soit qui mal y pense (Shame be (to him) who thinks evil of it), 2022, Alexandre Diop, Rubell Museum

On the left side of the exhibit wall, Honi soit qui mal y pense (Shame be (to him) who thinks evil of it) riffs on Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s 1812 painting, La Grande Odalisqueanot, echoing similar themes to Olympia. Alongside a series of zig-zag lines, fabrics feature prominently in this composition, with three pieces of velvet-like material in yellow, deep blue, and blueish green serving as the artwork’s background. The fabrics extend slightly off the canvas, creating a sense Read the complete review at

This article was written with support from the DC Arts Writing Fellowship, a project of the non-profit Day Eight.



Oluseyi Akinyode

Omo Naija | follower of Jesus | Kdrama fanatic | film & art lover | coffee addict | product enthusiast | getting lost to find myself