Diasporal Rhythms: A 10-Year Love Affair with Collecting Art of the African Diaspora

Logan Center Gallery , Chicago, United States
08 Oct 2013 - 09 Nov 2013

Logan Center Exhibitions is partnering with Diasporal Rhythms to present an exhibition to mark the 10th anniversary of this distinct art collectors’ collective.

Featuring works by Abiola Akintola, Floyd Atkins, Paul S. Benjamin, Dalton Brown, Makeba Kedem-DuBose, Theodore C. Feaster, Felicia Grant Preston, Andre Guichard, Juarez Hawkins, Dayo Laoye, Annette Malika Jackson, Marva Lee Pitchford Jolly, Faheem Majeed, Joyce Owens, G.L. Smothers, Lowell Thompson, Dale Washington, Julian Williams, and Shyvette Williams.

Guest curated by Joyce Owens

In his book Black Art: A Cultural History (Thames & Hudson, 2002), Richard J. Powell writes of Jeff Donaldson’s work [recently featured at the Logan Center Gallery in AFRICOBRA: Philosophy]: “this is another Black diasporal rhythm.” The idea of an African diasporal rhythm resonated with the founders of this unique collectors’ collective. And the notion that an artwork can be a rhythm—that just like music, rap and dance, artworks carry the rhythms floating through the Diaspora—has been a guiding principle in their activity.

Founded in 2003, Diasporal Rhythms seeks to build a passionate group of collectors engaged in actively acquiring visual art created by contemporary artists of the African Diaspora and to expand the appreciation of these artists’ work. The organization hosts both public and private (members only) events, including home tours, exhibitions and other opportunities to build knowledge about cultural value. Currently a regional organization, Diasporal Rhythms boasts collections housed in private homes throughout Chicago and even counts a public institution, the Dixon Elementary School, as a member.

The bi-annual Collectors’ Invitational marks the culmination of the group’s efforts to recognize the artists they have encountered. Every other year, the membership gathers to vote “out of their collections”: Each member can cast a ballot for an artist whose works they have acquired, and the top five artists are then honored by exhibitions and other events for two years. The nineteen artists featured in this exhibition, which celebrates the tenth anniversary of Diasporal Rhythms, are all such honored artists. To choose their work for this special exhibition, the members invited an independent jury (Dara Epison, Tempestt Hazel, Linda Murray, James T. Parker) to select three representative works by each previously honored artist.

Joyce Owens, an artist, curator, and professor, was then invited to curate the installation of the chosen fifty-seven works at the Logan Center Gallery. The exhibition aims to present an overview of the depth and significance of the activity of Diasporal Rhythms and offers an opportunity to  reflect on the shared resonances, unique skills, and vision evident in the individual artworks they collect, bringing the artists and the collectors who support them to a broader audience.

Exhibition reception and ten-year anniversary celebration
Friday, October 11, 6–9pm
Logan Center Gallery and Café Logan
Featuring a musical interlude by Douglas R. Ewart* and Quasar

Annual collectors’ home tour
Saturday, October 12
Buses depart from the Logan Center at 9am and 1pm
Tickets available in person at the Logan Center Box Office, online at ticketsweb.uchicago.edu, or by calling +1 773 702 ARTS.

Gallery encounters
Thursday, October 17, 6pm
Foundations of Diasporal Rhythms
With Floyd Atkins, Diane Dinkins-Carr, and Patric McCoy*

Thursday, October 24, 6pm
Sapphire & Crystals
With Felicia Grant Preston*, Tempestt Hazel, and Joyce Owens

Thursday, October 31, 6pm
Lessons of the Dixon School
With Dalton Brown*, Annette Malika Jackson, and Carol Briggs*

Thursday, November 7, 6pm
Influences – African and Otherwise
With Julian Williams, Daniel T. Parker*, and Oyekunle Oyegbemi

Special screening and panel discussion
The Curators of Dixon School

(Pamela Sherrod Anderson, director, 80 minutes)
Sunday, October 27, 3pm
Logan Center Screening Room (201)

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Pamela Sherrod Anderson (dir.), Joan Dameron Crisler (former Dixon School Principal, Diasporal Rhythms founding member), Ra Joy (Executive Director, Illinois Arts Alliance), Dayo Laoye (Dixon School Commissioned Artist); moderated by Emily Hooper Lansana (Associate Director of Community Arts Engagement, Logan Center/Arts Incubator).



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