Nyugen E. Smith is a first-generation Caribbean-American interdisciplinary artist based in Jersey City, NJ. Through performance, found object sculpture, mixed media drawing, painting, video, photo and writing, Nyugen deepens his knowledge of historical and present-day conditions of Black African descendants in the diaspora. Trauma, spiritual practices, language, memory, architecture, and climate change are primary concerns in his practice.
Nyugen holds a BA, Fine Art from Seton Hall University and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been presented at the Museum of Latin American Art, Peréz Art Museum, Museum of Cultural History, Norway, Nordic Black Theater, Norway, Newark Museum, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, El Museo del Barrio among others. Nyugen is the recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Performing and Visual Arts Fund, Franklin Furnace Fund, Dr. Doris Derby Award, and Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant.
March of 2020 was the start of something else for me. Concerns and conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic were unfamiliar territory that guided me back to a familiar place within my creative self… MUSIC. A creative block at the onset of the quarantine in late March of 2020 in the northeastern United States caused me to convert my visual arts studio into a space to record music. Ironically, social distancing brought my brother Donnel (aka DR Smith) and I back together to create, using available online platforms to develop this project remotely and has birthed this independently produced music project titled ALGO-RIDDIM: A Bundlehouse Sonic Relief Pack.
Tapping into the rhythms of the Caribbean and Africa, and situating itself within Hip-Hop culture, the album is a sonic reflection on our times, a reflection on the past, with a focus on the future. This project is an extension of my art practice. It is a work of art in and of itself. The content comes from an honest outpouring of words and sound, informed by years of academic and experiential research on the history, performance traditions, ritual and spiritual practices, colonialism, and politics in the African Diaspora.
ALGO-RIDDIM: A Bundlehouse Sonic Relief Pack is a limited edition (qty: 550) collectors’ item and each item included in the box set is carefully crafted, numbered and signed. The digital version of the album includes a bonus track and select access to exclusive elements in a robust digital environment that includes related visuals and interactive experiences.