Friday, November 10, 2023 through Saturday, January 6, 2024
Black Being is a multimedia exhibition and in-gallery performance that explores the beauty of normalcy in Black existence. From getting hair washed in the kitchen sink to slamming dominoes down on a card table, Black Being declares that the seemingly ordinary occurrences of Black life are just as remarkable as accomplishments defined as #BlackExcellence.
Curated by Kaitlyn B. Jones, Black Being ignites conversations about the dangers of Black exceptionalism and cautions against the phrase “Black Excellence” as an ideal that disregards the inherent value of Black life. The selected works of fifteen Black artists illustrate Blackness without direct references to anti-Black histories or resilience as a descriptive Black character trait. Rather, Black Being purposely excludes struggle and oppression as a glorified subject in Black-created artworks in favor of an exhibition where Black people can just be.
Featuring: Abby Oyesam, Amani Lewis, Andre Ramos Woodard, Basil Kincaid, Brian Ellison, Dawn Okoro, Derrick Adams, glyneisha, Kevin Hopkins, London Pierre Williams, Nehemiah Cisneros, rachel j. atakpa, Ronald Jackson, Tokie Rome Taylor, and William Toney.
Friday, November 10 from 6:00-9:00 PM | Charlotte Street Gallery
Please join us for the opening reception for Black Being.
Friday, December 8, 6:30-7:30 PM | Charlotte Street Kemper Library
Join us for an artist talk with Brian Ellison, a mixed-media artist living and working in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas. He is a self-taught photographer, cinematographer, and conceptual visual artist. Ellison founded the non-profit The Black Man Project, which explores the complexity of African-American masculinity for young boys and creates safe spaces for black men to take part in group therapy sessions. Additionally, he directed a documentary project unMASKulinity that interrogates what masculinity is for Black men through interviews and performances. Ellison believes there is no limit when it comes to self-expression and describes his work as authentic and thought-provoking.
Journey to Softness (The Barbershop Series), facilitated by Brian Ellison
Saturday, December 9, 11:00 AM-2:00 PM | Charlotte Street Gallery
Journey to Softness (The Barbershop Series) is a performance facilitated by Brian Ellison that begins with the artist receiving a haircut by a local barber in the middle of the gallery space. Brian models the platonic intimacy between Black men that is organically cultivated in the barber shops of his childhood. Following Brian’s haircut, members of the community are invited to sit in the barber chair and receive the same service, free of charge. “In the barber shop, Black men are handled with care,” Brian explains, “In this sacred space, Black men get to be delicate.”
Journey to Softness is a living testament of how the seemingly mundane tasks of Black culture are actually foundational ritualistic practices that–when placed in a traditional “white cube” gallery space–offer an alternative idea of what an artistic practice looks like.