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“The Black Pupil” : Exhibition by Students of the Black Arts Movement

“The Black Pupil: Exhibition and Event Curated and Hosted by Black Arts Movement Students of Columbia College Chicago”

 May 7 – May 29, 2010.

Exhibition opening and events May 7, 2010 from 5-9 p.m.:

5-9 p.m.:   Exhibition (first floor gallery, 2nd floor lab, basement installation)
5:30-8:30 p.m.:   Live Art (2nd floor gallery)
6-7 p.m.:   Performance Art Workshop (3rd floor)
6:30-7:30 p.m.:  Spoken Word and Open Mic (sculpture garden stage)
7:45 p.m.:   “Black Love” Performance Art
(from south windows to sculpture garden)

The Black Pupil is an exhibition and sculpture garden launch by Spring 2010 Black Arts Movement students of adjunct faculty D. Denenge Akpem.  The exhibition will open at the South Side Community Art Center at 3831 S. Michigan Avenue from 5-9 p.m.  This student-curated exhibition features work by Mickalene Thomas, Jeff Donaldson, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Marcus Smith, NIZ, Lauren Kelley, Stephen Flemister, Rahmaan “Statik” Barnes, Tyree Guyton of Detroit’s Heidelberg Project, and others in addition to other conceptual works developed by the class around Black Arts Movement themes.  In addition to the exhibition, the evening’s events include: a Live Art audience participation piece based on B.A.M. soundtrack; spoken word by world-renown poets Avery R. Young, Khari B., and Deja K. Taylor along with an open mic; “Black Love” performance art by Je’Nae Taylor; and Performance Arts Workshop for kids. 

Mickalene Thomas, "Why Can't We Just Sit Down and Talk It Over", 2006. Print. From the collection of Cleve Carney

This exhibition is a collective expression of core concepts and intentions of the Black Arts Movement of 1965-75.  It is organized around themes such as:  “Black Light” visions and depictions of blackness; “Places and Spaces” as sites of collectivity and resistance; the essential role of music; the artist and art as forces for change; and “I AM: Statements of Blackness” reflecting the conversation between “old school” and “new school”–elders and youth–via poetry and art.  We look to Malcolm X, the fire prophet, and his words, his style, his transformations.  We ask:  What happened to the Black Arts Movement, and where is it thriving today?  We say: Black art exists and it is moving people.

The sculpture garden design is inspired by John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and is based on the organic forms found in the paintings and sculpture of cross-cultural artists Elizabeth Catlett and Francisco Mora.  May 7 will see the launch of a new wall sculpture created by B.A.M. students with renown artist Bernard Williams.

Lauren Kelley,"Bubble Gum Wig",1999.Photo print

We share in the 70th Anniversary of SSCAC and reflect on themes of solidarity and community looking forward to the next 70 years.  Come and celebrate the only WPA/New Deal institution still in existence, enjoy the exhibition and performances from top artists in the world, and be a part of history!
This Black Arts Movement Service Learning course work at SSCAC is sponsored in part by the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences and the Center for Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago.
For further information, call SSCAC at 773-373-1026, or email dakpem@colum.edu.
Visit www.facebook.com pages “The Black Pupil” and “South Side Community Art Center”  and http://www.sscac.blogspot.com/.
 Visit www.transitchicago.com for travel information.

The Black Pupil: A Statement of Purpose

This exhibition is a collective expression of core concepts and Black Arts Movement intentions that we want to share with the multiple audiences of which we are a part. 

Our curatorial process involved each student presenting images, artist statements, and/or manifestos as examples of BAM both past and present related to the ideas and texts we have been studying.  From this, a pattern emerged in specific areas of interest such as: the essential role of music; depictions of blackness; the role of the artists collective as a force for change; and the conversation between “old school” and “new school”–elders and youth–via poetry and art.  The thread of music runs through the exhibition and many works of art will have soundtracks.

With this exhibition, we share in the 70th Anniversary of the South Side Community Art Center and reflect on the ideals of the WPA/New Deal.  We ask:  What happened to the Black Arts Movement, and where is it thriving today?  What is the meaning of “solidarity”?  What defines “community”?

We are making some statements.  We look to Malcolm X, the fire prophet, and his words, his style, his transformations.  John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” inspires us to Dr. King’s mountaintop, and Elizabeth Catlett and Francisco Mora’s revolutionary work and 50-year marriage across cultures speaks to us of solidarity, of commitment in all its forms, of a love supreme. 

We say: Black art exists and it is moving people.  We say Black Youth: You don’t understand how powerful you are.  How will you move past complacency with respect to contribute, learning and honoring traditions while creating unique riffs and remixes to reflect you?