Arthur Jafa: Visual Culture and Blackness
In this project, students will gain an understanding of contemporary and historic race relations and explore different experiences of race and racism through the use of video and reading stories. At the end of the project, students will reflect on the importance of alternative narratives.
As part of this activity, there is a follow-up conversation moderated by Youth Programs Coordinator Itzel Basualdo and artist, photographer, and curator Rohan Ayinde that took place on June 23 2020. It is highly recommended you go through the recommended readings and vocabulary terms before the activity, also to complete the activity prior to the viewing the talk.
Over the past three decades, Arthur Jafa (b. 1960, Tupelo, Mississippi) has boldly confronted the relationship between visual culture and blackness in his works. Often drawing content from an archive of images and video clips culled from popular magazines, books, media, and digital platforms like YouTube, Jafa embraces a complex approach to authorship and legitimacy. The visual experiences he creates seek to, in his words, “replicate the power, beauty, and alienation of black music.”
Itzel Basualdo is the Youth Programs Coordinator at ICA Miami. Originally from Miami, she is an interdisciplinary artist who works primarily with video, installation, and text. She strives to extend her critical perspective into her work as an educator. Her work has been exhibited at La Cera 13, LOOP Barcelona, and Void Projects, as well as forthcoming exhibitions at Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami; and Heaven Gallery, Chicago. Her writing has appeared in The Acentos Review, Creative Nonfiction magazine, and Ginger Magazine, among others. Balsualdo was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018.
Rohan Ayinde is a Chicago based artist, writer and curator. His interdisciplinary work is centered around creating “otherwise” potentials, and in so doing breaking down and simultaneously reconfiguring the ideological architectures that shape our daily and generational lives. Most often the landscapes he explores are rooted in questions about quantum physics, black radical aesthetics and architecture. Rohan is the gallery manager for Blanc Gallery in Chicago and is a 2020 curatorial fellow with ACRE.
Recommended Grade Levels: 3–7
Higginbotham, Anastasia. Not My Idea: a Book about Whiteness. Dottir Press, 2018.
Recommended Grade Levels: 1–4
Barnes, Derrick D., and Gordon C. James. Crown: an Ode to the Fresh Cut. Bolden, an Agate Imprint, 2017.