"I feel like there are people who can look at the work—be they black or white, it doesn’t matter—who will take something powerful away from it, because it’s about the human experience,” says Lina Iris Viktor as we discuss her solo exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art, which opens October 5. Beautiful references to Malick Sidibé, Chris Ofili and David Hockney are plastered on one wall of her whitebox studio, located in the heart of New York’s Financial District. On the other side of the space is a robust library brimming with monographs of figures including Samuel Fosso, Yayoi Kusama, Keith Haring and Alexander McQueen. While we chat, her young studio manager diligently works on production in the corner. It’s a humid July afternoon and I’m visually drinking in works-in- progress that will appear in the show, “Lina Iris Viktor: A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred.” The exhibition’s title aptly addresses the fraught and convoluted historical trajectory of Liberia, Africa’s first republic.