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Sound, Stories is the sixth in a series of guest curated video exhibitions in Locust Projects’ Screening Room that launched in fall 2019. Guest curated by Heike Dempster: art writer, administrator, curator and collaborator; the exhibition features videos by Ania Freer, Ambrose Rhapsody Murray, and Helina Metaferia. Opens to the public with a reception on Saturday, September 10 from 6-8pm and is on view through November 5, 2022 Wednesdays-Saturdays from 11am-5pm. Admission is free.
Exploring ancestral realms and engaging in the process of rewriting histories/herstories, Sound, Stories, moves across the oceans that connect the African Diaspora. The exhibition poses the questions: What is contained in the language of the people, What are the narratives, sounds and identities inhabiting the landscape? This series of videos engages in layers of epistemological considerations and renegotiate perspectives of relation between cultural identities and space—moving from the Jamaican countryside to the waters of North Carolina and the contemporary gallery space—where we meet to contemplate the power of narrative and heritage and addressing power structures and celebrating community.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
In Ania Freer's Riva Maid (2019), (6:46 min.), Dwight “Bobo” Hayes recounts childhood memories of Salome, a protective water spirit who abducted a woman in his village of Roaring River, Jamaica. Long shots of the surrounding waterways are cut between static portraits of Bobo and accompanied by a voiceover that weaves together memory, oral histories and folklore. The film touches on themes of intimacy, spirituality, healing and resistance. Riva Maid is part of Real Talk, an ongoing video portrait series documenting lesser-known histories, everyday life experiences and craft practices across Jamaica.
Ambrose Rhapsody Murray’s Deep Waters, 2021 (11:44 min.), is a choreographed meditation on Spirit, ancestral presence, ritual, protection, family, community, and belonging, unveiling the hidden beauty of everyday lives of Black folks–their movements, clothing, hairstyles and jewelry. Deep Waters was created in collaboration with Atlanta-based filmmaker Logan Lynette, dancer and cultural organizer Heather Lee, and the organizers and artists connected to SpiritHouse Inc. in Durham, NC.
Helina Metaferia’s A Seat: Pulling Up A Chair Next To Joseph, In Conversation with Nzinga, Rosa, Shirley, and Solange, 2017 (2:57 min.), critiques how access, power, and privilege is obtained while paying homage to the artist’s conceptual practice rooted in art history, feminist history, and popular culture. In the project she appropriates Joseph Kosuth’s “One and Three Chairs,” as well as quotes from African American leader Shirley Chisholm and contemporary singer Solange Knowles. She nods to the revolutionary anti colonial actions of 17th century Queen Nzinga of Angola, and the birth of the civil rights movement through the actions of Rosa Parks. The artist locates their gendered, radicalized body within that history as they perform in a “white cube” institutional space, using gesture as a way to address the power within the metaphorical seat that is still needing to be had today.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Ania Freer is an Australian-Jamaican artist, filmmaker, cultural researcher, and curator based in Kingston, Jamaica. She attended The University of Sydney and received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Film Theory. Working in installation, video, and curation, Freer uses oral histories to explore themes that are central to the Jamaican experience such as Black empowerment, resistance, labor, healing and folklore. She collects and presents meaningful, lesser-known stories in order to celebrate legacies of autonomy, self-determination, and liberation that shape her island home and disrupt imperialist narratives. She is the founder of Goat Curry Gallery, a platform which features artworks from Jamaican craft producers along with her documentary series REAL TALK, an intimate collection of interviews from across Jamaica, exploring identity through themes of social justice, class, race and familial relationships. Freer has exhibited in the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Summer Exhibition, she is an Art Omi: Artist in Residence Fellow, a Caribbean Film Academy Fellow, an AIRIE (Artist in Residence in Everglades) Fellow, the recipient of the Black Creative Endeavours Grant, the inaugural Curatorial and Art Writing Fellow at New Local Space Kingston among others. In 2022 she began research in Senegal, West Africa, conducting interviews and building important relationships within fishing communities.
Ambrose Rhapsody Murray is an artist from Western North Carolina with roots in Florida. They are a self-taught painter and seamstress who received their BA in African-American Studies from Yale College in 2018, concentrating in arts & culture. They have extensive experience as a teaching artist working with youth and in-community. Their experience in liberation movement and social justice spaces across the South continues to inform their praxis as a Black, queer, southern artist who strives to create work that heals, transforms and makes tangible impact. Their process is an exploration of our bodies and land as sites of historical memory and mystical/imaginative potential. The act of making through sewing, painting and assemblage becomes a process to imagine and visualize the complex layers and depth of story that live within our bodies, as well as to contemplate and imagine the thin veil that exists between the spirit world and the physical world.
Helina Metaferia is an interdisciplinary artist working across collage, assemblage, video, performance, and social engagement. Recent solo exhibitions include Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (2022); New York University's The Gallatin Galleries, New York, NY (2021); Michigan State University's Scene Metrospace Gallery, East Lansing, MI (2019); and Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA (2017). She will present her work at the 2023 Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates. Metaferia's work is in the permanent collection of several institutions, including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; RISD Art Museum, Providence, RI; and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY. Her work has been written about in publications including The New York Times, Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Artnet News, and Hyperallergic. She received her MFA from Tufts University’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts (2015) and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2016). Metaferia is an Assistant Professor of Visual Art at Brown University, and lives and works in New York City, where she is currently an artist-in-residence at Silver Art Projects at the World Trade Center (2021-2023).
Heike Dempster is an art writer, arts administrator, curator and artist collaborator. After graduation from London Metropolitan University in London, UK and the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, Dempster lived and worked as a writer, TV and radio host, and producer in Jamaica and the Bahamas. In 2012, she relocated to Miami, FL where she works in interdisciplinary arts administration and has made a name as an art writer, consultant, and a respected member of the arts community. She also works in international artist management with Amir Shariat with artists like Alexandre Diop, Basil Kincaid and Kennedy Yanko. In her writing, Dempster focuses on Africa, the Caribbean and the Diaspora. Her articles and essays have been published, amongst others, in Aesthetica, ArtDistricts, Art Pulse, Rooms-Art Uncovered and Whitewall Magazine, as well as numerous exhibition catalogues. Dempster’s focus is to work with artists in a truly collaborative practice to curate talk series, exhibitions, and installations.
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