Organized by guest curator Amanda Jirón-Murphy, We Can’t Predict Tomorrow is a snapshot of life as lived throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Featuring work by nine multidisciplinary artists, We Can’t Predict Tomorrow touches on themes that took on heightened urgency during the pandemic in the United States: issues of social justice, climate change and the intense longing for sanctuary, community, and shared experiences. Taken together, the works in We Can’t Predict Tomorrow serve as a record of a time when humanity lived at the knife’s edge of uncertainty but found creative ways to keep on living.
Made at home throughout the pandemic, Nakeya Brown’s photo suite X-pressions: Black Beauty Still Lifes wistfully pays homage to black hairstyles and fashion through found objects and images from magazine advertisements and other print media from the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Hold the divine in mine (to H.S. Leonard) is artist Tommy Bobo’s swan song to pre-Covid collective euphoria; in this new video installation he transforms concert footage into abstract pulses of light, color, and sound, evoking the loss of the spaces and crowds.
Created after years of research into End of Life Experiences, artist Leigh Davis’s Reunions is an interactive monumental black pyramidal structure that can be entered by a single participant. Commonly called a “psychomanteum” by grief practitioners, the structure is meant to be used as an aid in the grieving process: visitors are encouraged to bring an object that belong to a deceased loved one in order to spend some time in quiet remembrance.
Shot throughout the seasons on the traditional homelands of the Piscataway and the Anacostan in Rock Creek Park and Roosevelt Island, as well as the traditional homelands of the Tewa, Santa Clara, Pascua Yaqui, and Tohono O’odham in the Southwest, This Native Land is Pascua Yaqui activist and artist Guarina Lopez’s photographic homage to Mother Earth. The moments of tragedy, beauty, and resilience in the landscape that Lopez captures in her photographic series serve as metaphors for the story of our nation’s first people.
Lex Marie’s newest works depict frank and vulnerable moments from the pandemic year as experienced by a single mother and artist; her self-portrait At His Daddy’s House captures her luxuriating in a rare moment of solitude.
Artist Jackie Milad’s wall hangings chart her reaction to the social upheaval and unrest of the pandemic from within the confines of her studio. Milad’s visual lexicon, which includes fragments of ancient Egyptian imagery and snippets of Spanish and Arabic text, draws heavily from her personal history and builds to kaleidoscopic crescendos of color, texture and imagery.
Started in January of 2021, Jared Nielsen’s Animal A Day project marks the passage of time with a creative challenge: to pick and study an animal a day as generated randomly from Wikipedia’s “Bestiary” page and then draw it in ink, often from memory. Taken as a whole, Nielsen’s line drawings chart his growth as a draftsman while also highlighting the charm and diversity of planet earth’s living creatures whose very existence is threatened by climate change. Nielsen will be taking daily requests for an animal to be added to the ongoing collection throughout the exhibition; follow him at @nielsenjared on Instagram for more details.
Created, performed, and filmed during the pandemic as part of Divya Nayar’s 2020 exhibition Refusing Refusal, SPEAK CHILE creates a safe space for Black storytelling’s exploration of Black queer love. Created by James Balo, SPEAK CHILE is a world that reimagines the structure of a fashion show and performance. SPEAK CHILE narrates a love story for Black folk and began as an ode to Balo’s Haitian grandmother and Caribbean ancestry. Its inspiration was drawn from the discovery of methods to depict Black-Caribbean vernacular’s movement to build a home in a world where it didn’t have a home. The designs in the show derive from archival images and Balo’s personal family histories, and honors one of the family’s fallen matriarchs, Calmita Fleuridor, by enacting the laying down of Fleuridor’s hands and the passing down of her legacy, story, and family.
SPEAK CHILE in the after, in the now, exists as an ode to all the Black children known before, in the now, and after to make a home of their own.
Artist Bahar Yürükoğlu’s IYKYK is a new sound, video, and found object installation in which she poetically interprets the alternately mundane and chaotic experience of living through the pandemic in snippets of video from sources including ASMR videos, footage shot on airplanes, and moments captured in the Azores, Istanbul, Beirut.
We Can’t Predict Tomorrow Artists:
James Balo, Nakeya Brown, Tommy Bobo, Leigh Davis, Guarina Lopez, Lex Marie, Jackie Milad, Jared Nielsen, and Bahar Yürükoğlu
Exhibition Dates: June 19 - August 28, 2021
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