a/wake in the water: Meditations on Disaster

Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, New York, United States
14 Aug 2014 - 09 Nov 2014

a/wake in the water: Meditations on Disaster

Film still from Half On, Half Off. By Kevin Jerome Everson, 2011. Courtesy Kevin Jerome Everson; Trilobite-Arts-DAC; Picture Palace Pictures.

The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) presents a/wake in the water: Meditations on Disaster, a group exhibition featuring Kevin Jerome Everson, Cauleen Smith, Ulysses Jenkins, Tameka Norris, Danielle Lessovitz, the Institut de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine National, A. Sayeeda Clarke, Wanuri Kahiu, Muchiri Njenga, Loretta Fahrenholz, and Observatory Media.

Working in a range of cinematic landscapes, these filmmakers and visual artists explore the ways Black bodies experience environmental hazards and natural disaster. Revisiting recent catastrophes, while also exploring apocalyptic futures, these pieces address the harsh repercussions and lack of relief efforts Black communities face in the aftermath of disaster.

The show’s curator Erin Christovale remarks, “Climate change lies at the forefront of major issues we face as a global community in the 21st century. Reflecting on disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, it is imperative to draw connections to how the environment affects and relates to people of color. Using film, video, and new media to activate these notions allows for a more interactive and shared experience in hopes of bringing awareness to the state of environmental justice.” Christovale is a Los Angeles-based curator and film programmer.

With a sense of place and historical research, Kevin Jerome Everson’s films combine scripted and documentary moments with rich elements of formalism. His films focus on the lives of working class African Americans by exploring their gestures and daily tasks that result from the conditions of their everyday lives. Cauleen Smith produces multi-channel film and video installations that incorporate sculptural objects and text. Her interests emerge from her roots in structuralist filmmaking to afro-futurist narrative strategies with themes grounded in history and memory.  Ulysses Jenkins is a video and performance artist who addresses race, history, and the power of the state through an afro-futurist lens. Tameka Norris uses painting, video, photography, music, performance and installation to explore the internal drives and external influences that shape identity. Danielle Lessovitz’s narrative work deals with real people recreating or reimagining factual events as a form of personal and public catharsis. Institut de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine National (ISPAN) is a government agency of the Republic of Haiti that aims to take stock and classification of national assets and assist in the promotion and development of public and private efforts to safeguard the national heritage.

A. Sayeeda Clarke is a filmmaker who raises questions around the importance of race, class, natural resources and community. Wanuri Kahiu is a filmmaker who uses speculative fiction to explore technological advances and social issues that arise in Africa. Muchiri Njenga is a self-taught visual artist, animator, and a multi-faceted filmmaker who mixes traditional African aesthetics with modern digital techniques. Loretta Fahrenholz’s films address the power structures, economic necessities, and social pressures that determine roles in daily life. Observatory Media is a collective of filmmakers who are interested in creating visually stimulating films while utilizing the latest imaging technologies.

Opening Party: Thursday, August 14 | 7-10PM | RSVP

Upcoming events related to the exhibition – http://mocada.org/events/