In a rare constellation, the exhibition “Show me your Shelves!” realizes an artistic dialogue between Black artists from Germany and the US.
In July 2019 in Detroit, now in Houston, the two-part show brings together eight artists reflecting on existing common structures, experiences, as well as differences between German Afro-diasporic cultures and lifestyles and African American perspectives. The exhibition challenges the question of how libraries can expand on becoming open spaces of encounter and knowledge specifically regarding the connections of African Diasporas.
Beginning on 31st October 2019, Amelia Umuhire (Berlin), Anika Joyce Sadiq (Stuttgart), Regina Agu (Houston) and Tay Butler (Houston) will be presenting their installations, films, and sound pieces in at the African American Library at Gregory School, Houston.
“Show me your Shelves!” is conceived by founders and editors-in-chief of the art magazines Contemporary And (C&) and Contemporary And América Latina (C& AL) Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba.
In addition to the exhibition, C& has launched a Special Print Issue developed by young arts writers from Detroit and Germany. The issue discusses questions around Afro-German and African American experiences raised during a writing workshop which took place in Detroit in November 2018.
The C& Special Print Issue will be available at the African American Library at Gregory School.
“Show me your Shelves!” is funded by and takes place within the framework of the German campaign Wunderbar Together – The Year of German-American Friendship, initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA), the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI). This campaign works to highlight the decades-spanning foundation of common values, interests, and goals between the two countries.
Opening: 30th October 2019
Location: The African American Library at Gregory School, 1300 Victor St, Houston, TX 77019, United States
About the Artists
Amelia Umuhire is a Rwandese artist and film director. She was born in 1991 and grew up in Kigali, the UK and Germany. She wrote and directed the 2015 web series Polyglot’ which is set in Berlin and London and follows young deracinated Rwandese artists looking for ways to express themselves and subtly dealing with the heritage of a violent past. The series screened at various international festivals such as Festival D’Angers, Tribeca Film Festival, Geneva International Film Festival where it won Best International Web Series 2015. Her short film ‘Mugabo’ screened at Film Africa, Uppsala Film Festival and Blackstar Film Festival 2017 where it won “Best Experimental Film” and was part of the official selection of IFFR 2018. The film has currently screenings at the MOCA Los Angeles, MCA Chicago, the Ann-Arbor Film Festival, Smithsonian African American Film Fest and more. In July 2018 she produced and directed the radio feature “Vaterland”, commissioned by the German radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur. In February 2019, she presented her first solo exhibition FKBP 5 at Decad Berlin.
In her work ‚King Who‘ Amelia Umuhire traces back the origin of her late father‘s books to Nyanza, the precolonial capital of Rwanda. Nyanza, a small town where the monarchy was at home, is now a city dedicated to catholicism. Statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, welcome the visitors. The city is home to many catholic boarding schools, one of them ‚Christ Roi‘ is where the journey ends. An experimental video installation reflecting on the role of institutions in the upbringing of two Rwandese generations.
Anike Joyce Sadiq (*1985) studied at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, where she graduated 2013. Ever since she is presenting her work in single and group exhibitions all over the world. 2018 she exhibited at NGO in Johannesburg and Vox Populi in Philadelphia. She was also part of the Dak’art Biennale 2018, of the Strasbourg Biennale 2018 and of „Not a Single Story II“ at Wanas Art Foundation in 2019. She received various grants and fellowships such as the Villa Romana Prize 2015 and she was a fellow of the Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg 2018 and the Cité International des Arts Paris in 2018/19.
The initial point of the image and sound based piece entitled “Visited by a tiger” developed for the presentation in the Gregory School in Houston, is the fist as a model of the brain and how this image allows us to place neurobiological processes back into a social context. It is a thinking about dissonance, balancing and renewed power deeply connected to the body. And on how a book can change our blood flow or the attempt to fight back by keeping our thumb under the lid. The piece evolves along an on going conversation with Dr. phil. Lula Morton Drewes a Berlin based psychologist, who dedicated her professional work to assist people in learning to bring the Thinking Brain back “online” in times of emotional and in cooperation with music producer and artist Lamin Fofana.
Regina Agu’s work has been included in exhibitions, public readings, and performances nationally. Her research often involves site exploration and working with and through archives. In 2018, Agu was awarded a Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts + Project Row Houses fellowship at the University of Houston for her research on Emancipation Park, and a residency at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans through a partnership with For Freedoms. Agu received a 2017 Artadia Houston award and was a 2016-2017 Open Sessions participant at The Drawing Center in NYC. Agu was the co-director of Alabama Song, a collaboratively-run art space in Third Ward, Houston, which received a 2016 SEED grant from The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Agu is the founder of the Houston-based WOC Reading Group, and her other collaborative projects include Friends of Angela Davis Park and the Houston-based independent small press paratext.
Regina Agu will present a series of works on paper responding to selected text and photographs in the Digital Archive of African American Library at the Gregory School. Her digital research is informed by her engagement with Black Geographies and other critical frameworks.
Tay Butler is a multi-disciplinarian artist based in Houston, TX and working in Fayetteville, AR. Currently an MFA candidate of the University of Arkansas’Photography and Studio Art program, Tay graduated in May 2019 from the University of Houston with a Bachelors, Fine Art in Photography and Digital Media. Tay is consistently building a portfolio of photography and video exhibitions as well as performances from Diverse Works and Project Row Houses in Houston, TX to Communication Gallery in Madison, WI. Retiring from the US Army and abandoning a dream engineering career to find purpose, Tay soon uncovered a rich appreciation for Black history and a deep love for photography. Using history as a canvas and memory as glue, Tay has created and showcased historically-layered analog and digital images and video through numerous exhibitions in and around Houston, while building a solid presence through social media. When not visually exploring the Black past, present and future, he is working on numerous projects for an assortment of collaborators, to include the HAITI National Basketball Team and Project Backboard.
In his work RE.Migrant 2.5 Tay Butler utilizes mixed-media collage and photography to construct literal structures of memory, one standing a life-sized billboard annotating the eras of migration and others as large scale collage photographs that rewrite a history we no longer have access to.
About Contemporary And (C&)
Contemporary And (C&) is an art magazine and a dynamic space for issues and information on contemporary art from Africa and its Global Diaspora. C& publishes weekly features, columns, reviews, and interviews in English and French on contemporaryand.com. C& América Latina (C& AL) focuses on the connections between Latina America, the Caribbean, and Africa (amlatina.contemporaryand.com). Texts on this platform are published in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Being read in around 120 countries, C& collaborates with an international network of major protagonists of the global art scene as well as with young, emerging voices. This happens online and on the ground. The C& print issues are published twice a year.
Contemporary And was initiated by the Institute for Foreign Relations (ifa), Contemporary And América Latina (C& AL) is co-published by ifa and the Goethe-Institut.
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