Monthly Archives: April 2011

MoCADA and The Curatorial Fellows Take Verge Art Brooklyn by Storm

From March 3 to March 6, the Curatorial Fellows successfully curated our first space at the Verge Art Brooklyn Fair. The three day event drew local, national, and international artists and galleries to Dumbo. MoCADA was represented in two ways: with a booth, and by the artist Jeff Sims and his piece “Straddle” in the the Brooklyn Art Now Survey exhibition. The MoCADA booth utilized a multimedia approach and functioned as a venue to debut an episode of the Soul of Brooklyn and  Diaspora Zine, create an artistic intervention, inform the public about the museum, fund-raise, display past exhibitions, and network.

We utilized a multimedia display in the MoCADA booth to show the various programs that the museum is engaged in.  The space was flanked by two projections. One which displayed MoCADA’s new logo and the other projection presented a slide show of images from past exhibitions and an episode of Soul of Brooklyn TV.  The  TV episode is currently featured on Soul of Brooklyn’s website which “is your quintessential online and printed guide to discovering the unique cultural and business renaissance currently taking place within Brooklyn’s African Diaspora”. Several times during the fair, these elements drew a crowd. The Soul of Brooklyn episode features a lengthy segment on MoCADA’s mission. With interviews from the Founding and Executive Director, Laurie Cumbo, the Director of Exhibitions, Kalia Brooks, and the Director of Education, Ruby Amanze. In addition, photographer Barron Claiborne and musician Blitz the Ambassador, along with the trailer of his film, Native Sun (May 2011) were featured.

The Curatorial Fellows created  our first publication, Diaspora Zine. The concept of the zine was to employ a DIY aesthetic to can spread MoCADA’s message to a wider audience. The first edition of the Zine was created for Verge Art Brooklyn and included … read more

To read this post in full click here

Contributed by: Jabari Owens-Bailey

ONLINE VIDEO: One Tribe, One Style?: A Text with an Agenda!

Christopher D. Roy, Professor of Art History, at the University of Iowa has added new videos to his Youtube channel: CDROYburkina.

Professor Roy has put together a short presentation on YouTube that describes the art of the Mossi peoples of Burkina Faso, and says of these resources:

“The intention is to help students and teachers who are interested in the great diversity of Mossi mask styles. Anyone who has read any of my publications since 1976 knows that the idea of one tribe one style certainly does not apply to the Mossi: thus the title “One Tribe One Style: A Text With an Agenda”.

“The Mossi are made up of several peoples, all of whom were conquered in 1500 A.D. by invading horsemen from the south. This resulted in a variety of styles, based on the locations of each of those conquered peoples.   In addition the Mossi create political art in the form of figures and spiritual art in the form of masks. The result is a great diversity of object types and styles.

“You can find my YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/CDROYburkina look for “One Tribe One Style: A Text With an Agenda”. Of course the YouTube presentation includes numerous slides and videos of objects in each of the styles being used in village context.

“I think it would be very interesting if more scholars of African art put some material  on their own areas of expertise on YouTube to make it available for us to use in our classes. YouTube makes it possible not only to use narration–that is text– but also to use video, and slides.”

Please leave any comments or questions and these can be passed onto Professor Roy.

Questions about Re-Imagining Haiti with Co- Curator Shante Cozier

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that ravaged Haiti in January 2010, this collaborative exhibition organised by MoCADA and CCCADI offered contemporary work by artists who are examining the spirituality, aesthetics, and re-construction of Haiti. Through an open call, visual, performing and literary artists – as well as musicians and filmmakers – were invited to submit work that is centered on a conceptual rethinking of the cosmological and socio-political conditions in Haiti at the present moment. Over twenty artists were selected to participate in Reimagining Haiti featuring works in painting, photography, video, installation, illustration and mixed media.

The exhibition will be on view at Caribbean Cultural Center/African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) from January 13th to May 8th, 2011 and at Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) from January 20th to May 8th, 2011. Jabari Owens-Bailey sat down with co-curator Shante Cozier to interview her regarding the Exhibition and explore her take on the process of creating such an important and transformative exhibition.

S: Shante Cozier
J: Jabari Owens-Bailey

J: Why is Reimagining Haiti an important exhibition?

S: The exhibition is very important because it marks a year after the earthquake.  The first part of the exhibition opened on the 13th of January at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute and the second part on the 20th at MoCADA.  The idea of Re-imagining Haiti is important for us because it is one exhibition conceptualized differently in two spaces, and we are dealing with the idea of re-conceptualizing a nation through artwork.

J: You briefly touched on this, but what is the significance of the dual platform of the exhibition in being at two locations?

To read the full conversation click here.

Contributed by: Jabari Owens-Bailey

El Otro Lado Del Alma: Syncretisms in Contemporary Cuban Photography

The Black Atlantic Resource is pleased to announce new research materials online relating to the exhibition el otro lado del alma, including images from the exhibition alongside two articles from the catalogue (in English and German) The Other Side of the Soul, by Curator of the exhibition Moritz Neumüller, and Gods Without Masters by Cuban Anthropologist and expert in syncretistic religions Natalia Bolívar.

El otro lado del alma is not an ethnological exhibition. It is a show on Contemporary Cuban Photography, with a thematic focus on a cultural phenomenon. El otro lado del alma is not an anthology of Cuban photography. Yet, it does give an idea of the various artistic tendencies in contemporary artistic creation in Cuba. El otro lado del alma does not repeat the classic clichés on Cuba, such as vintage cars, Che Guevara and the deterioration of Old Havana. It was co-produced by (and for) Cuba’s National Museum of Photography and therefore gives an inside view in contemporary Cuban live, that takes place far from the tourist attractions (but sometimes also near to them).

Cuban culture has often been described as a product of a syncretistic process, in which the Afro-Cuban cults play an important part. These religions originate from the intermingling of African spirituality with Spanish Catholicism and beliefs of the native inhabitants. El otro lado del alma (the other side of the soul) was produced in cooperation with the Fototeca de Cuba, Havana’s Museum of Photography. It is the first comprehensive exhibition on the role of syncretisms in contemporary Cuban photography and video art. At the same time, the subject serves to contrast two vivid photographic traditions on the island: On the one hand, the great achievements of Epic Photography which are still widely present in reportages and journalistic photography. On the other hand, contemporary Cuban photography and video art are often seen in the context of New Cuban Art and neo-conceptualism. These new approaches have largely substituted the documentary viewpoint in recent art exhibitions and publications. Articles from th is exhibition catalogue, however,presents a wide range of different contemporary positions reflecting el otro lado del alma, the other side of the Cuban soul.

The exhibition has been shown in the following venues:
Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba: February 12th, 2003 – Mach 6th, 2003
Kornhausforum, Bern, Switzerland: January 20th – March 20th, 2005
Clarisses’ Church, Bratislava Month of Photography: Nov. 3rd – Dec. 3rd, 2006

Participating artists:
Pedro Abascal, Juan Carlos Alóm, Jorge Luis Álvarez Pupo, Raúl Cañibano, Elio Delgado, Ricardo Elías Kattia García, LyN (Liudmila Velasco and Nelson R. de Arellano), Humberto Mayol, Ramón Pacheco, René Peña, Marta María Pérez Bravo, and Sandra Ramos.

To view these exciting new research materials click here.

Beauty, Power, and Liminality: A conversation on Black Beauty movements from the Lecture Series Beauty and the Black Body

To be misrepresented, one’s image is falsified, distorted, warped, loaded, and perverted.  How does that image get corrected, when is one represented? On Saturday February 19, Rutgers University Newark addressed just these questions at The 31st Anniversary of The Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series Beauty and the Black Body: history, aesthetics and politics. Through five lecturers, a range of historical and contemporary images of African Americans where analyzed showcasing how African Americans re-represented themselves through beauty-focused themes. The opening of Posing Beauty at Newark Museum followed the symposium, leading to a full day of critical appreciation of the portrait in photography by Black Americans.

The curator of the exhibition, Deborah Willis started the symposium by posing the question that has been addressed in her research, “Are you essentializing blackness?” To this, Willis explains that her research as exemplified in the exhibition, and book of the same name, Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present (New York 2009) aims to examine those historical/iconic images that depicted the black body. For Willis and the other scholars, it is important to read the stories behind those images. And that is precisely what Willis does.

To view a full version of this post including discussion of images of the ‘Hottentot Venus’ and  Madame C J Walker, and issues raised by speakers: Richard Powell, Maxine Craig, and Tiffany Gill click here.

Contributed by: Zemen Kidane