On Thursday, Feb. 2 the art exhibit/experience “Rooted in Abolition, In Love, In Imagination” opens at 6:30 p.m. at The DeLuxe Theatre located in Fifth Ward at 3303 Lyons St. Houston, Tx 77020. The opening night will include poetry, celebration and lite bites. The show, which is free and open to the public, will run Feb. 2 – Feb. 14. Those who want to attend are encouraged to register for the exhibit’s events.
“Rooted in Abolition, In Love, In Imagination,” curated by Schetauna Powell, is described as an exhibit that brings together artists to explore what it means to build new worlds. This group show brings together artists working in film, print media and theater. Each artist explores the relationships, inherited practices and experiences that we need to create new possibilities as a people and society.
“The objective of this exhibit is to communicate plainly what we mean by abolition,” said artist/activist Secunda Joseph. “I think when people say things like ‘defund the police’ or ‘abolish prisons’ Black folks get afraid. How can you say that to a community that feels unsafe? ‘How will we protect ourselves,’ folks ask.
Joseph says academics and activists sometimes use colloquialisms that just don’t do it for members of the Black community.
“We lose them with our slogans. But our artists, our storytellers, painters, photographers, those are our griots, our prophets. They do more than just tell us what they know, they help us to see, to imagine, to really see what’s possible. That’s why we are doing this (exhibit). We want the imaginations, the slogans, the knowledge on how to create a more just and loving world starting with Houston, to come from our community. And we know artists who get it are the ones to help us create that space,” said Joseph.
To that point about using art to educate, Powell shared why she sees the exhibit as important.
“A vision that centers building and creating a restructured society where all of our needs are met, is an abolitionist vision,” said Powell. “The show ‘Rooted in Abolition’ is an exploration of the relationships, inherited practices, and experiences that we need to create new possibilities. Like a kitchen table this space provides an opportunity for us to share narratives, learn from each other, and care for each other through Interaction. Like the properties of a purple yam our inherited practices are rooted; they connect us to the earth, and are known to heal. Our work for liberation asks, ‘Aare we able to come together and express our aspirations and needs without restriction?’ Our collective work for abolition asks, ‘Will you help us rebuild?’”
Filmmaker Cassandra D. Jones is excited about the upcoming exhibit because of what it offers Black people.
“’Rooted in Abolition’ is a vital exhibit for Black people because we deserve multidimensional spaces that inspire us. All of the artists believe in the beauty of Blackness and strive to honor our experiences. It is a place to wrestle, study, explore and imagine – for us and by us,” said Jones.
Exhibition Opening from 6:30p – 8:30p To set intentions, the opening of the exhibition Rooted in Abolition this event features our version of a Harambee Circle. Harambee, meaning “come together” in Kiswahili, is a ceremony to pull everyone together to get on the same accord and to increase enthusiasm and energy for the work ahead. This event is an interactive song and dance celebration featuring call and response, spoken word performance, and ceremony to recognize the abolitionist work of members in the 5th ward community. Light bites will be provided.
Artist Talk (Kill Joy, Chavonté Wright, and Risky Cereal) from 3p – 7p This artist talk is the first in a two part series of conversations about the work featured in the exhibition Rooted in Abolition. Moderated by Schetauna Powell this conversation features artists Kill Joy, Chavonté Wright, and Risky Cereal. Working in print media, graphite, and photography our conversation will explore the influences, themes, and production of the work featured in the gallery. After the conversation there will be a Q & A. Food will be provided.
Artist Talk and Film Screening (Cassandra Jones, Stevens Orozco, and Candice De’Meza) from 3p – 7p This artist talk is the second of the two-part series of conversations about the work featured in the exhibition Rooted in Abolition. Moderated by Secunda Joseph, this conversation features Candice De Meza, Stevens Orozco, and Cassandra Jones, each artist works in film or theater. During the conversation they will speak on how their work communicates themes of abolition and community work. After the conversation there will be Q &A. Food will be provided.
Rooted in Abolition is a group show that brings together artists working in film, theater, print media, and photography to explore ideas centered on building futures in a world defined by structural racism. Grounded in concepts of what it means to build home, community, connection, and mindset/psychology the exhibition invites the viewer to build on the works of the artists by interacting with the display.
ABOUT BLMHTX (ImagiNoir)
Our mission as a collective is to engage in coordinated and sustained strategic action for social justice in the city of Houston. We do this by following a method of community organizing that was initiated and modeled by Civil Rights Activist Ella Baker. This involves a grassroots approach to activism that hinges on building and empowering local communities of support and resistance—rather than a solitary leader—through skill development, education, coalition building and relationships of trust and respect.
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