How Black artists use citational art to build upon one another's legacies_eye freckle removal surgery uk

How Black artists use citational art to build upon one another's legacies"Black citational art is a kind of code that allows artists to speak in secret ... Everything comes together for the viewer who 'reads' all the references."

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Everything comes together for the viewer who 'reads' all the references

jamilah malika abu-bakare · CBC Arts(Steve Farmer)

When Black artists bring texts, expressions and responses of Black figures into gallery settings across the world, the artwork circulates and centres Black people in ways that can undo the representation that often fails us elsewhere in the media. On platforms like TV, radio and magazines, so much Black culture circulates without Black people getting credit or compensation. We have Black ballroom culture to thank for endless slang, but does that translate into material support, love and care for Black trans women? No, because sayings like "Yasss Queen" are attributed to Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eyeor Ilana Wexler on Broad City. Black aesthetics and vernacular circulate profitably with ease and success on white bodies. However, when Black artists cite Black figures, we might understand the effect of art like a musical sample: you are obsessed with a song, so you look for the original. When I saw a photo of Gary's sculpture on Instagram, I immediately searched the text. I am now rereading Beloved. This is the power of citational art.

When Black artists cite Black figures, we might understand the effect of art like a musical sample: you are obsessed with a song, so you look for the original.- jamilah malika abu-bakare

Ceramicist Simone Leigh recently announced that at this year's Venice Biennale, she will host the second iteration of the Loophole of Retreat conference. This gathering of Black women thinkers is named in reference to Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girlby Harriet Jacobs. The Venice Biennale has never included an event like this — Black women artists and academics discussing the theory that weaves them together. The event's name and function are citation on citation in a renowned, high art setting. Some attendees may think this event out of place, but to others, it will make complete sense.

I understand Leigh's plans implicitly. My work centres Black women. I collect and compose sounds with immense care. I mean to elevate and honour the speakers I reference. I wonder: what would Angela Davis think of appearing alongside Rihanna, if either knows how their words mirror one another's? Listening to and layering together these women was healing for me, and I hope it is for the Black women who hear it. For the non-Black women listeners, I hope their next exchange with a Black woman — whether famous or familiar — will shift toward her freedom. By citing these six women, their words will reverberate through spaces that are usually silent. I hope their voices loop in the listeners' minds long after they leave.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

jamilah malika abu-bakare

jamilah malika abu-bakare is an artist and writer currently working from Lenape lands. She is accepting invitations to teach Sound Art, Text Art and Collage by Black artists.

(editor:)

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