PRESENT FUTURES: HEALING AND SELF-PRESERVATION AS RESISTANCE

February 1-28, 2017

Presented by Black Art Story Month for the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership
Exhibition at Gnarly Vines | Live Works + Performances at Pratt Institute

In moments of injustice, how do we think about the future when the present is so daunting and fraught? How are self-care and self-preservation prioritized as a strategies for resistance?

Present Futures: Healing and Self-Preservation as Resistance shares the work of Damali Abrams the Glitter Priestess, Curtis Bryant, Joseph A. Cuillier III, Dominique Hunter, Llucy Llong, Tsedaye Makonnen and Wi-Moto Nyoka, artists whose practices center on liberating the Black imaginary and challenging dominant narratives around the Black experience. Present Futures: Healing and Self-Preservation as Resistance is presented in two parts: a group exhibition at Gnarly Vines (350 Myrtle Avenue) and a one-night performance and time-based art series at Pratt Institute.

The exhibition at Gnarly Vines considers self-preservation through three distinct lenses—joy, honor, and conviction—examining the variety of ways we can protect ourselves and commemorate our stories. Informed by Afrofuturism and Afro-Caribbean syncretic religions, Damali Abrams the Glitter Priestess constructs ornate collages of fantasy and myth that reject tragedy as the sole, dominant narrative of the Black experience. While Joseph A. Cuillier III’s text-based public installations and publications juxtapose the poetics of radical Black political thought with imagery that explores pragmatic applications for abstraction. Dominique Hunter employs and exaggerates popular advertising techniques in her collages to critique the manner in which the female body is idealized, objectified, and consumed. Abrams, Cuillier, and Hunter contend with representation of the black body in images and language, and through experimental collage techniques they take back control of imposed mainstream narratives.

The one-night presentation of performances and screenings at the Pratt Institute Film/Video Center engages the audience in rituals of self and shared care. There will be performances by Tsedaye Makonnen and Wi-Moto Nyoka, punctuated by the video works of Curtis Bryant and Llucy Llong.

Each artist in Present Futures: Healing and Self-Preservation as Resistance collects information and knowledge associated with the fragmented experiences of the African Diaspora, and recontextualizes familial histories, pop culture, and sociopolitical commentary to enact strategies of healing and self-preservation. Furthermore, they assert that healing and celebration are necessary forms of resistance against the implicit violence and oppressive structures found in everyday life. Present Futures: Healing and Self-Preservation as Resistance believes that a sanctuary of self-care is critical for practitioners of color doing the prolonged work of fighting against injustice and making lasting change.