April 5, 2021

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Unanonymous, Breonna Taylor
Kalkidan Assefa and Allan Andre, Sandra Bland

Dear Friends,

As Women's History Month closes and International Black Women's Month opens, we pause in remembrance of Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland, two black women who died much to young.

The world changed on March 13, 2020. The untimely death of 26 year old Breonna Taylor forever marks this day. At about 12:40 a.m., police officers in Louisville, Kentucky, executing a no-knock warrant, killed Breonna Taylor in her bed. Her death devastated her family and outraged the nation. Many artists, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Amy Sherald, created tributes honoring Breonna Taylor.

We continue to be haunted by the violent police treatment of 28 year old Sandra Bland during a minor traffic stop in July, 2015, and her death three days later in a jail cell where she was found hanged. Her family disputed the ruling that her death was suicide. She was optimistically looking forward to a new job, which was to start in nearly two weeks when her young life was cut short.

We lift up and say the names of Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor as we must "Say Her Name"!

This edition of the newsletter includes art moments featuring women artists, highlights of upcoming virtual talks and exhibitions, and chill and music moments at the end.


Augusta Savage, Gwendolyn Knight

Augusta Savage (1892-1962), an American sculptor who worked during the Harlem Renaissance, was also an art teacher and community art director. Her best-known work of the 1920s was Gamin, an informal bust portrait of her nephew, for which she was awarded a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship to study in Paris in 1929.

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Destroyer II, Botswana

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, (b.1980-) an artist whose work encompasses drawing, painting, installation, and animation. Her work alludes to mythology, geology and theories on the nature of the universe. Sunstrum’s works include narrative landscapes that appear simultaneously futuristic and ancient.

Belkis Ayón, Sikan

Belkis Ayón (1967-1999), an Afro-Cuban artist known for her printmaking and engraving whose works explored beliefs, rituals and myths of the Afro-Cuban all-male fraternal Abakuá Secret Society to create an independent and powerful visual iconography. She is highly regarded for her signature technique of collagraphy, a printing process in which a variety of materials are collaged onto a cardboard matrix and run through a press.

Caitlin Cherry, Miasma

Caitlin Cherry (b.1987-) is an American artist who uses painting to explore femininity through digital media. Cherry selects her subjects, manipulates their images digitally, and paints them filtered through "sonorous" layers of radiating patterns of color and pulsing light to create colorful images.


Deborah Willis is a renowned artist, curator, scholar, and Chair of New York University's Department of Photography and Imaging. She conceived a video performance choreographed by Djassi Johnson. Djassi Johnson and Kevin Boseman performed in 19th-century garb with contemporary and historical projects behind them. Her work brings collective memory of conflict to the forefront of modern consciousness in Inter Sectionality: Diaspora Art From the Creole City. Watch the video here.

Deborah Willis, Reflections on Joan Baez’s Civil War, 2018

What Six Matriarchs of Black Miami Mean to Miami History. Dorothy Fields, Marliene Bastien Nancy Dawkins, Bea Hines Thelma Gibson, and Enid Pinkney were recently recognized for their contributions in a Miami Herald article, A History of Defiance, Here's the article.


Rosie Gordon-Wallace, founder of Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (DVCAI) and co-curator of Inter | Sectionality: Diaspora Art from the Creole City, will headline Miami MoCAAD’s Virtual #Creative Conversation on May 18, 2021, at 7pm. University of Miami Professor Donette Francis, a contributor to the exhibit catalogue, will engage Rosie Gordon-Wallace in conversation about her collaboration with Sanjit Sethi, president, Minneapolis College of Art and Design to curate an exhibit that “invites you to enjoy the work of twenty-seven artists from seventeen countries as they explore personal identity, race, class, and culture intersecting in the Creole City as a local, regional and global phenomenon.” The exhibit runs through May 31, 2021.

The Ralph Hogges and Benjamin Cowins Writers Group of South Florida is hosting the 2021 Virtual Book Festival and Writer's Conference on April 17. Marilyn Holifield, Esq., a cofounder of Miami MoCAAD, is a keynote speaker and panelist along with other coauthors of Seven Sisters and a Brother: Friendship, Resistance and Untold Truths About Black Student Activism in the 1960s. Register for the event here.

Lowe Connects at University of Miami will present and celebrate work of art history students, including former Miami MoCAAD intern Nhadya Lawes, in a virtual art exhibition experienced in Augmented Reality (AR). Students will present demos of their AR applications and discuss their creative processes. Register here for this April 8 event.

Hampton Art Lovers presents “To Miami, with Love”: Pandemic Life and Protest by Rahsaan Alexander”, opening April 8 and running through May 8, a photographic exhibit reflecting on life in Miami during this historic moment. Register for the exhibition here.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, The Separate

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye in her first major survey at the Tate Modern will engage in conversation with Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem. Watch the conversation here!

Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham co-authored, "Black Futures", an anthology asking the question, "What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?" It includes photos, memes, tweets, essays, in an attempt to answer that question. Both were recently in conversation with NMAAHC curator Michelle ​Joan Wilkinson about their project. Watch here!  

Sarah Lewis, an associate professor of the History of Art and Architecture and African and African-American studies at Harvard University, founded the groundbreaking Vision & Justice project. In this interview Lewis, whose scholarship is changing the field, argues that Black artists are under-theorized.

Richard Powell, John Spencer Bassett Distinguished Professor of Art & Art History at Duke University, is a curator, art historian, author, and educator. He has spent his career rewriting the canon to include the accomplishments of Black artists. In this interview with Duke Today he discusses HBO’s documentary Black Art: In the Absence of Light.

Carrie Mae Weems, May Flowers

Black Art: In the Absence of Light, a recent HBO documentary that explores Black art and its history in the United States, was inspired by the late David Driskell’s landmark 1976 exhibition, Two Centuries of Black American Art. In the Absence of Light offers illuminating introductions to Black visual artists through captivating interviews of curators and artists including Thelma Gordon, Richard Powell, Sarah Lewis, Jordan Casteel, Kehinde Wiley, Theaster Gates, Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, Amy Sherald, Carrie Mae Weems and more. Watch the full documentary here.

Lorraine O'Grady, Rivers, First Draft: The Woman in White eats coconut and looks away from the action

Lorraine O’Grady, a conceptual and performance artist, may be one of the most important contemporary artists of our time. The Brooklyn Museum's retrospective of her work running through July 18, 2021, features twelve of O’Grady’s major projects produced over her four-decade career and debuts a much-anticipated new installation. Read about the exhibition here! And be sure to see other shows including John Edmonds.

Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, features the work of the late Cuban printmaker, Belkis Ayón (1967-1999), in a solo exhibit hosted by the University of Oregon Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, Oregon. During her short, but fertile career, she produced an extraordinary body of work central to the history of contemporary printmaking in Cuba and abroad. The exhibit runs through September 5, 2021.

Faith Ringgold, an artist, activist, and author will be featured in a survey exhibition at the Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland. Over 70 of Ringgold's works will be featured in this modified show from Serpentine Galleries, London. The show opens on April 8, 2021.

Julie Mehretu, an abstract artist is currently featured in a mid-career survey at the Whitney Museum. The survey covers twenty years of her work and runs through August 8, 2021. Listen to her talk about her survey exhibition, "Julie Mehretu", here.

The Porch is the Tree is the Watering Hole (through May 29, 2021), a dynamic exploration of space and community within the African diaspora. Curated by Dominique Denis, the exhibit celebrates the history of the Sistrunk community and highlights the Black experience in Black neighborhoods with works by Germane Barnes, Darius V. Daughtry, David I. Muir, Adler Guerrier, Olalekan Jeyifous, Adrienne Chadwick, Marlene Brunot, and George Gadson. Reserve your viewing spot here!  

Michael Richards: Are You Down? is the first museum retrospective of the work of Michael Richards. Richards, who, unfortunately, passed away at the age of 38 during 9/11. Richards had a close creative relationship to Miami as an artist in residence at ArtCenter/South Florida (now Oolite Arts) from 1997–2000. The show opens April 21 and runs through October 10, 2021.

ACA Galleries presents, A Black Perspective, a group exhibit of work of prominent African American artists between 1945 and 2015, including work of Faith Ringgold and Aminah Robinson. The show runs through May 1, 2021.

Charon Rothmiller, Lesson

Miami Connected, The Miami Foundation and Achieve Miami, partnered with Miami-Dade Public Schools to provide free broadband connectivity, digital literacy, and career opportunities in technology to more than 100,000 students and their families in Miami-Dade County. Students in Overtown, Little Haiti, and Little Havana will receive high-speed internet. For more information see Hylo News Miami.

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education regularly publishes a list of new books. Take a look at the latest selections here.

Virginia Key Beach Park Trust and the Florida Humanities presents, Black Florida & Voices of Change, which includes a webinar on Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune; Dr. Tameka Hobbs of Florida Memorial University presenting, Strange Fruit in Florida covering Florida's racial violence and lynching April 8; and Dr. Anthony Dixon presenting The African Diaspora Experience in Florida, May 13, . Registration via Eventbrite required.

The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University is hosting W. E. B. Du Bois virtual lectures recognizing persons who have contributed to understanding African and African American life, history, and culture. Register for upcoming lectures and watch previous lectures, here.  

Here are grants for artists. Oolite Arts: The Ellies Creator Awards - Apply April 21, 2021 through May 17, 2021 at 6 p.m; The Ellies Social Justice Award - Apply April 21, 2021 through May 17, 2021 at 6 p.m.

Oolite Relief Fund https://oolitearts.org/relieffund/; Artist Relief https://www.artistrelief.org/.

AIRIE’s residency program provides artists the opportunity to live and work inside Everglades National Park. Applications close June 1, 2021 at 11:59 PM.


Wind down with Miami MoCAAD. Here are sounds to explore that we think you’ll love!

Gloria Emilse Martinez Perea, lead singer for ChocQuibTown, was born in Condoto, Colombia. ChocQuibTown mixes modern hip-hop sounds with more traditional Colombian genres such as salsa, Latin jazz, and coastal rhythms. Listen to ChocQuibTown's songs!

Sweet Honey In The Rock, a performance ensemble rooted in African Am erican history and culture, is one of today's the most vibrant, versatile and ever-relevant musical collectives. In tribute to Ella Baker, listen to Ella's Song.

Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon co-authored an opera based on Octavia E. Butler's novel Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. The opera, of the same name, provides parallels to last year. Read Toshi Reagon, explaining its relevance here.

Chaka Khan, affectionately known as the "Queen of Funk", has a career spanning nearly five decades as a singer and songwriter, beginning in the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the funk band, Rufus. Listen to her recently released funky song, Like Sugar.

Aya Coco Danioko, aka Aya Nakamura, born in Bamako, Mali, is best known for her hit song, Djadja. After studying fashion at La Courneuve, Seine-Saint-Denis, France, she transitioned to music and launched her music career with the stage name Aya Nakamura.


Who painted Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait for the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute?

Who was the first Black curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 1988?

Who was the first Black woman to become a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET), New York in 1972?

Who was the first Black woman to have a retrospective exhibit of her art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2014?

Bonus question: Which American-born Black and Ojibwe female sculptor spent much of her time in Rome and is known for her sculpture titled Death of Cleopatra?

See Miami MoCAAD's website for answers!


-The Miami MoCAAD Team

Miami MoCAAD Board Members:

Marilyn Holifield, Hans Ottinot, Monique Hayes, Sheldon Anderson


Michelle Johnson, Dale Jennings II


Corbin Graves, Luz Estrella Cruz, Charlie Farrell

Let us know what you would like to see this year. Email us at miamimocaad@gmail.com

Visit us at miamimocaad.org

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