Field Notes: A Bit of Inspiration
As Black Art History Month comes to an end, I am both reflective of and inspired by the tremendous amount of work being done in the world to showcase and create a platform for black artists globally. I am reminded that not only is this work done by the many curators that were featured during the month of February and more, but so many other types of creatives and "culture-makers" across a range of industries. In an effort to keep learning about and collecting information on these culture-makers, and perhaps, expanding my own understanding of the way that art and artists influence culture more widely, I have decided to start compiling and sharing these "lists" of inspiring people and happenings. Here is the first iteration.
A Few Exhibitions That I am Particularly Excited About:
Toyin Ojih Odutola: Testing the Name, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA. Feb. 20 - Sept. 9, 2018. This is the third exhibition in an episodic series of large scale paintings and drawings, depicting two fictional Nigerian aristocratic families as they are joined by the marriage of two men. SCAD Museum of Art has had some exceptional exhibitions of contemporary black artists over the last few years, including Hank Willis Thomas, Ebony G. Patterson, and a commemorative group show for Jacob Lawrence. Odutola's previous exhibition, To Wander Determined, at the Whitney Museum in NY, received rave review.
This Synthetic Moment, David Nolan Gallery, NY, Jan. 18 - Mar. 10, 2018. Curated by photographer David Hartt, this exhibition features the work of Liz Johnson Artur, James Barnor, Kwame Brathwaite, David Hartt, Zoe Leonard, and Christopher Williams. Oluremi Onabayo, who I will mention more about later, gave a wonderfully insightful interview with Hartt for Aperture Magazine.
People to Watch:
Now, more on Oluremi Onabayo, Director of Exhibitions & Collections for The Walther Collection Project Space in NY. Her research interests include contemporary art and photography of Africa and the Diaspora. She has contributed to the important exhibition catalogue, Recent Histories: Contemporary African Photography and Video Art as well as the catalogue for Fictions at the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Cassandra Twala of CASSMIAT
A blog that I have been thoroughly enjoying lately is CASSMIAT, the lifestyle blog of Johannesburg-based Cassandra Twala. She is one of four incredibly stylist members of the Black Base collaborative blogging platform and curator of the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair. She recently made a trip to Lamu, Kenya and a lush photo diary followed, including a visit to Saba Studio, a hand carved furniture brand in Nairobi. I intend to follow her for interesting discoveries in contemporary design.
And to continue on the topic of design, next is Tapiwa Matsinde, a London-based, Zimbabwean curator and author of Contemporary Design Africa. This book highlights fifty contemporary designers, artists and collectives in Africa and the Diaspora, working with textiles, ceramics, furniture and more. She also writes Atelier Fifty-Five, a design and lifestyle blog that provides resources for sourcing contemporary design from the continent.