FROM COUNTER-MEMORY TO COUNTER-CULTURE:
BLACK ISLAM IN THE U.S. THROUGH A MUNDANE AFROFUTURIST LENS
is a multi-generational look at moments of Mundane Afrofuturism within the lives of Black Muslims in the U.S., emphasizing the concepts of counter-memory and counter-culture as key cultural and political approaches toward subversion and innovation. Consisting of three artworks, the exhibition space is intended to act as an unveiling of information, recognizing Black folks’ historical and ongoing relationship to accessing knowledge.
I wish I was unhappy (2021)
Cut-out fabric, 12'x10''
This artwork physically manifests the metaphorical concept of the Veil as referenced in W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk. Cited in the fictional chapter "Of the Coming of John," “I wish I was unhappy” encapsulates a Black American’s sincere longing for knowledge and understanding of how systemic oppression affects their life, at the cost of their own happiness. The peepholes in the large cloth barrier represent that which is withheld from those who desire but are unable to fully experience the other side.
"Singing Praises to God" II (2021)
Mixed media installation
The Arabic word الحمدلله means “Praise be to God,” the phrase used to describe a day in the life of Yarrow Mamout post-manumission. This artwork posits repetition in prayer as a method of counter-memory and builds a multi- generational narrative, linking Prophet Muhammad (green velvet banner with gold accenting), Yarrow Mamout (disjointed brick lettering), and me (relief printing directly onto the wall).
This artwork is the second iteration of the relief print Yarrow Mamout "Singing Praises to God" (2020). I continue to work in his memory, using his ability to speak and write in Arabic and the fact that he remained a Muslim throughout 44 years of enslavement to show his direct engagement with counter-memory.
#AllRappersGoToHeaven (2014- )
Archival pigment prints and augmented reality
This artwork is the result of a counter-culture formed at the intersection of Islam and Rap music, with a nod to technology’s role in exacerbating the vulnerability of Black American people. The work subverts the typical use of target recognition technology – augmented reality acting as the surveillance state – by providing a counternarrative for high profile rap artists who are often cast as one-dimensional and judged on their lyrics.
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