Laurel Nakadate: Mother Line

Laurel Nakadate: Mother Line

 On view January 22 – May 29, 2022 

Her mother died shortly thereafter before having the opportunity to hold Nakadate’s newborn son. In The Kingdom series, Nakadate depicts grandmother and grandchild together through the merging of photographs of the infant with photographs spanning the grandmother’s life. To accomplish this final image, Nakadate hired technicians over the internet to photo edit her son into the arms of mother. The entire series will be shown together for the first time at Tephra ICA. 

A concurrent exhibition, MOTHER, will be on view at Mason Exhibitions Arlington beginning in March 2022. This is the third iteration of the group exhibition co-organized by Nakadate, which was first shown at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks+Projects, New York, in 2018. MOTHER explores the idea of motherhood from a diversity of female perspectives. 

Laurel Nakadate was born in Austin, TX and raised in Ames, IA. She currently lives and works in Boston and New York. Nakadate’s work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Princeton University Art Museum, Smith College Museum of Art, LACMA, the Guggenheim Museum, the Saatchi Collection, and other private collections. Nakadate received a BFA from Tufts University and The School of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and an MFA in photography from Yale University. 

About the Guest Curators 

Lily Siegel is the Executive Director of Hamiltonian Artists in Washington, DC. Before joining Hamiltonian, she was Executive Director and Curator at Tephra ICA; and held curatorial positions at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA. She holds a master’s degree in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism from School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in Visual Arts: History and Criticism from UC San Diego, CA. 

Don Russell has been an active contemporary art curator and arts administrator since 1979. His research focuses on the exploration and development of new social contexts for art. He is currently the University Curator at George Mason University, responsible for programming exhibitions and public art on the Fairfax, Manassas, and Arlington campuses. Additionally he directs Provisions Research Center for Art & Social Change, providing creative resources for community-engaged public art projects. He is President of Art Resources International and co-founder, with Edgar Endress, of Floating Lab Collective. Don previously served as Executive Director of Washington Project for the Arts and had various leadership roles at Visual Studies Workshop. 

Mother Line will include an online viewing room, a video-walkthrough, and a series of public programs. Tephra ICA is open Tuesday–Saturday, 11am–5pm by appointment only. Appointments are free and can be made at

Virtual Opening Reception and Artist Talk

Monday, January 24, 6pm

The presentation will be followed by a Q&A. FREE and open to the public. RSVP in advance at for Zoom Room link and password. Sponsored by Reston Community Center. 

 About Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art

Tephra ICA is a non-profit, non-collecting institution committed to promoting innovative contemporary art and thinking. Leading with curiosity and care, the organization is a catalyst, generator, and advocate for visual arts. 

Tephra ICA is supported in part by ArtsFairfax, Reston Community Center, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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