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Exhibitions

Resting Our Eyes

Resting Our Eyes

Curated by Tahirah Rasheed and Autumn Breon

Red neon of two hands palms facing out with purple neon below reading "Care is the antidote to violence"
Red neon of two hands palms facing out with purple neon below reading "Care is the antidote to violence"
The Combahee River Collective believed that society would inevitably benefit from the success of Black women-centered movements. When we consider what technologies have already been used to dismantle systems of oppression on a personal level, leisure and adornment are often overlooked, but extremely present in everyday life. From silk bonnets, hair salons, to memories of our grandmothers in the quiet meditation of “resting their eyes,” these mechanisms were criminalized and developed against and amidst oppression. A 1918 ordinance in Greenville, South Carolina required Black women to be jailed or heavily fined if they could not prove “regular and useful employment.” In 1786, Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miro enacted a law requiring Black women in Louisiana to wear scarves that completely concealed their hair after he found free Black women’s fashion as displaying “too much luxury in their bearing.” Resting Our Eyes highlights these mechanisms for freedom and reminds us of the visual vocabulary of those practices. These reminders help us imagine and affirm beauty, rest, and self-expression as radical and necessary acts.

Date

January 21–June 25, 2023

TAHIRAH RASHEED

Curator Website & Instagram

AUTUMN BREON

Curator Website & Instagram

IMAGE

Ja’Tovia Gary, Citational Ethics (Saidiya Hartman, 2017), 2020
Neon, glass, wire, metal , 47 x 47 x 6 in.
Collection of Bob Rennie; Vancouver, CANADA

Focusing on the liberation and celebration of Black women through the lens of leisure and physical adornment, Resting Our Eyes features new and existing works from 20 multi-generational Black artists working across sculpture, photography, video, mixed media, painting, and textile. Through embodied experiences of space and temporality, spectrums of abstraction and representation, these artists contend with the limitations and failures of the colonial gaze by casting Black womxn at the center of their visions through leisure and adornment. Collectively, these works invite us to see Black womxn as fully realized and free.

Adana Tillman, Alison Saar, Carrie Mae Weems, Derrick Adams, Ebony G Patterson, Genevieve Gaignard, Hank Willis Thomas, Helina Metaferia, Ja'Tovia Gary, Knowledge Bennett, LaKela Brown, Lava Thomas, Leila Weefur, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas, Sadie Barnette, Simone Leigh, Traci Bartlow, Deborah Willis, Lauren Halsey.