Arsenal Gallery Exhibition: A Collective Utterance - Naima Green
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
This event repeats every weekday between 6/21/2018 and 8/30/2018.
Culled from the ongoing series “Jewels from The Hinterland” (2013–present), this exhibition renders verdant alcoves and expansive green spaces throughout New York City, as well as select sites across the United States. Featuring black and brown artists, writers, culture workers, and thinkers positioned centrally in each image, A Collective Utterance offers an exploration into the tender interiors of individuals that constitute the creative communities of a city, through an associative, atmospheric mapping of its outdoor spaces.
Spanning sites such as Riverside Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Central Park, Green’s photographs present quiet, quotidian portraits—nuanced compositions that revel in her subjects’ subtle gestures, varied postures, and soft gazes. Documenting a community that is tight-knit yet sprawling in scope, Green’s project deeply engages with the historical and social role of photographic portrait, as a tool deployed to communicate, classify, or reinforce particular notions of subjectivity. Yet “Jewels from the Hinterland” destabilizes such structures, with photographic portraits that are as much a product of the subject’s agency, as they are of Green’s intent to portray their complexity. Through these insistently beautiful photographs, we access a kaleidoscopic consideration of what it means to find solace, comfort, and visibility within a community often relegated to the margins.
A project such as “Jewels from the Hinterland” takes on a particular type of urgency within the context of this sociocultural moment of seemingly interminable crisis, where the imaging of black and brown bodies is often deployed to a particular end. Whether portrayed in a mythical manner or as the sites of structural or physical trauma, black and brown bodies are ever in a state of being performed upon. But here, they are left to be. Collectively, these images attest to the tenderness and the strength, the beauty and the intricacy, that is present if only one were to spend time, and look and listen closely.
A Collective Utterance is organized by Oluremi C. Onabanjo.