International Black Women's History Month Edition April 19, 2022

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Miami MoCAAD celebrates the historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and
Black women in the visual arts. 

April brings International Black Women's History Month. Conceived by Sha Battle, a Georgia technology consultant, and entrepreneur, International Black Women's History Month aims to commemorate, honor, and elevate historical and contemporary accomplishments of Black women throughout Africa and the African Diaspora. Miami MoCAAD invites you to celebrate artists in the spotlight, savor inspiration from trailblazers, peek at a snapshot of future trends, and browse the bookshelf offering history, art, healing, and children's books, plus sample some music and film.

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Augusta Savage,
Harmon Foundation
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Augusta Savage The Harp 1939
World's Fair Committee

Sculptor and teacher, Augusta Savage (1892-1962) was one of America’s most influential artists of the 20th century, during the Harlem Renaissance. Inspired by "Lift Every Voice and Sing," by James Weldon Johnson, she created The Harp as a commissioned work for the 1939 New York World's Fair. The sculpture stood 16 feet tall and reimagined the harp's strings to feature 12 singing Black youths. She co-founded the Harlem Artists Guild and was director of the WPA's Harlem Community Center. In 2018, the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, FL, organized, Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman, curated by Jeffreen Hayes. The show was previously exhibited at the New York Historical Society.

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Althea McNish, Image courtesy of William Morris

Althea McNish (1924-2020) FSCD was the first Caribbean woman to achieve international acclaim in the textile design field. Her designs inserted color and fun into post-war clothes in the 1950s. Active in the Caribbean Arts Movement (CAM), founded in London in 1966, she worked to celebrate and promote the work of artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians from the Caribbean to the British public, later saying: “Everything I did, I saw it through a tropical eye.”

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Esther Mahlangu, Gulshan Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Esther Mahlangu (1935- ) is best known for large-scale works that reference her Ndebele heritage, including vibrant and geometric influences from Ndebele clothing and jewelry designs. Mahlangu gained worldwide recognition in 1989, when her work was included in an exhibition at the Pompidou Centre in Paris: Magiciens de la Terre (Magicians of the World). Her "African Art Car" commissioned by BMW in 1991, featured Ndebele patterns and was exhibited in 1994 at Washington, D.C.'s National Museum of Women in the Arts. She was the first non-Western and female designer to present work on one of these art cars.

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Mary Ann Carroll

Mary Ann Carroll (1940-2019) was the only woman in the Highwaymen, an artist group that broke from racially discriminatory conventions of the Jim Crow South in the 1950s and 1960s to paint and sell now-iconic landscapes of Florida. The group was not allowed to sell their art in traditional settings. Instead, they sold artwork from trunks of their cars across Florida. Ultimately, the work of the Highwaymen became popular and was exhibited in museums and galleries. Carroll’s work is noted for its vivid colors. In 2011, Carroll presented a painting to Michelle Obama at the First Lady’s Luncheon in Washington, D.C.

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Rosana Paulino, Parede da Memória
(Memory Wall).
Photo Levi Fanan, 2018.

Rosana Paulino has created art for 25 years but has faced racial and gender barriers limiting her efforts to sell or exhibit her work in major Brazilian institutions. Exploring the impact of memory on psychosocial constructions, her work reflects themes of social, ethnic, and gender issues, and slavery’s lasting legacy. One of her most important works, Parede da Memória (Wall of Memory) consists of patuás (talismans) containing hidden amulets with printouts of family portraits. Eleven photos repeated 1,500 times make up a wall of faces.

For more, check out our website at Embracing the Diaspora and prior Newsletters

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Thandiwe Muriu, CAMO 16, 2021
Kenya

Thandiwe Muriu (1991- ) explores the color and beauty of “African creation.” Seeking to enhance the value of the Black woman, who is too often excluded from the standards of beauty in her country, Kenya, Muriu’s signature trademarks are ebony skin, extravagant fabrics, and accessories from everyday life. Architectural hairstyles of her models reflect research of an ancestral culture lost by colonization. Muriu won the People’s Choice Award for 2020 Emerging Photographer of the Year at Photo London.

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Ntombephi Ntobela, Dynamic Emergence, 2016
South Africa (Mpondo Xhosa)

Ntombephi Ntobela (1966- ) is a master beader and cofounder of Ubuhle Women, an artist collective focused on sharing beading skills with a wide audience. Her work is grounded in colors of the traditional Mpondo framework along with recurring themes of water. She is called “Induna” as a sign of respect reflecting her accomplishments. Her ideology and experiences are painstakingly stitched onto the cloth, creating artwork of extraordinary skill and beauty and a rich tapestry of her experiences—her ndwango.

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​​Nneka Jones, Green Light, 2016
Trinidad and Tobago

Nneka Jones (1997- ) is a multidisciplinary artist interested in painting, drawing, sculpting, and embroidering, inspiring women in the Caribbean. Her artwork advocates for the protection of women of color and is most known for realistic embroidered portraits. Jones’ ongoing Target series confronts the trafficking of girls and women in the Caribbean, and encourages viewers to stop and gaze directly at Black women and their struggles.

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Rachel Jones, Say cheeeeese, 2022
United Kingdom

Rachel Jones (1991- ) uses sound, performance, painting, and installation to explore psychological truths through abstraction. Jones grapples with the challenges of finding visual means to convey existential concepts. She replicates symbols to create associative relationships as part of her ongoing investigation of identity and abstract representation of the internal structures of Black life.

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Atong Atem, Studio Series, 2015

Atong Atem is a photographer whose colorful self-portraits reappropriate the camera and reflect ways it has been used and has done harm. She is a past recipient of the inaugural La Prairie art award used to fund an international residency in Zurich and to attend the Art Basel international art fair.

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Stephanie Dinkins, Not the Only One V1. Beta 2 (2018); Deep Learning AI, Computer, Arduino, Sensors, Electronics

Stephanie Dinkins is a transmedia artist who produces experiences that spark dialog about race, gender, aging, and our collective future. View previous projects here. Not the Only One (above) is an ongoing experiment creating a multigenerational memoir of a Black American family using deep learning artificial intelligence.

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Analía Iglesias,Victoria Santa Cruz, 2021

Analía Iglesias, also known as Afro-Ana is an Afro-Argentine and Indigenous artist working in collage, illustration, and animation. Her work blends her heritage and contemporary technologies. Check out her colorful work here.

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Alma Thomas (1891-1978) was an abstract artist and educator based in Washington D.C. Miss Alma Thomas is the first documentary film that explores Thomas’ incredible life through the lens of curators, art specialists, scholars, and her family. Watch the film here. Her career is full of breaking barriers: the first fine arts graduate from Howard University (1924), first African-American woman to mount a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1972), and first African-American woman to exhibit her paintings in the White House (2009). 

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Julie Dash, Photo Credit: Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

Daughters of the Dust (1991) was written, directed, and produced by Julie Dash. It became the first feature film directed by an African-American woman to obtain wide theatrical release in the United States. Set in 1902, Daughters of the Dust follows a family in coastal South Carolina's Gullah community, and the generational divides amongst the female characters. The film is lauded for its aesthetic splendor, authentic depiction of Gullah culture, and breadth of varied perspectives of southern Black women. Daughters of the Dust was added to the Library of Congress's National Film Registry in 2004 due to its cultural, historical, and artistic importance.

Miami MoCAAD wishes to share our newly curated playlist of music of the African Diaspora, which crosses continents, genres, and time. Give it a listen--you might even find your new favorite tune.

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Elizabeth Catlett, In Phillis Wheatley I Proved Intellectual Equality in the Midst of Slavery from the series The Black Woman, 1946 (printed in 1989)

Contributions of Black women to art and art history are often overlooked. We have gathered art history books, exhibition catalogs, and some children’s books for you to explore. Keep reading to see our picks!

Art History

Creating Their Own Image: The History of African-American Women Artists

Lisa E. Farrington, Associate Dean of Fine Arts at Howard University, is an art historian who focuses on African-American, Haitian, and women's art. Creating Their Own Image is the first comprehensive history of African-American women artists, from slavery to the present.

The Art of History: African American Women Artists Engage the Past

Lisa Gail Collins, professor of Art History, Africana Studies, and American Studies at Vassar College, focuses on Black cultural history, art, visual culture, and activism; movements for social justice; community building; intimacy and quilts; and storytelling.

Art Books

Mary Ann Carroll, First Lady of the Highwaymen by Gary Monroe

Mary Ann Carroll was the sole female member of the original Florida Highwaymen, a group of Black artists who primarily sold their iconic landscapes of Florida along the state’s highway.

Faith Ringgold: American People

Faith Ringgold is an author, painter, quilter, performance artist, quilter, mixed media, and sculptor. Her works often focuses on Black women’s perspectives on civil rights movements.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly in League with the Night

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a British painter and writer known for her portraits in muted colors and thick brush strokes.

Restorative

The Strong Black Woman: How a Myth Endangers the Physical and Mental Health of Black Women "Marita Golden’s love letter to Black women deconstructs physical and mental damage inflicted by unchallenged mythologizing around the Strong Black Woman. She prescribes self-care, healing and self-empowerment that nurtures the New Age Strong Black Woman so she can confidently blossom." Marilyn Holifield, co-author, Seven Sisters and a Brother: Friendship, Resistance, and Untold Truths About Black Student Activism in the 1960s.

Black Women’s Yoga History

Stephanie Y. Evans, a professor of Black Women's Studies at Georgia State University, traces how Black women have managed trauma and stress in the face of enslavement and segregation, and posits the commitment to self-care and mental wellness as political and compassionate.

All About Love: New Visions “The word ‘love’ is most often defined as a noun, yet we would all love better if we used it as a verb,” writes bell hooks in All About Love. The author offers a proactive new ethic based on care, compassion, and unity.

Children's Bookshelf

Parker Looks Up

Parker Looks Up follows Parker, along with her baby sister and her mother, and her best friend Gia and Gia’s mother, as they walk the halls of a museum, seeing paintings of everyone and everything from George Washington Carver to Frida Kahlo. Then, Parker walks by Amy Sherald’s portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama…and almost passes it. But she stops...and looks up!”

Alma Thomas was an artist and educator based in Washington, D.C., known for her colorful abstractions. Celebrate the life-changing power of art with this inspiring and beautifully illustrated biography of Thomas.

This debut picture book, written and illustrated by Yesenia Moises describes a young Black girl’s adventure across the solar system to get her hair done by her nine fabulous space aunties!

Veo Veo, I See I See, Mwen wè Mwen wè Interactive Media Mural and Oral History Project

Miami MoCAAD’s interactive media mural project will illuminate Overtown history through the lens of artists and interactive media technology. Art and technology merge as unique QR codes to activate the mural with videos revealing oral history, and treasure hunt type games using images of people, and places in Overtown, as well as interactive engagement on potential museum experiences that could be offered by Miami MoCAAD.

June 17, 2022: Juneteenth Creative Conversation and Celebration to launch Veo Veo, I See I See, Mwen wè Mwen wè the Interactive Mural Project at Law Office Building of the late Lawson E. Thomas, Miami-Dade County’s first Black judge, co-hosted by Miami MoCAAD and Hampton Art Lovers at Historic Ward Rooming House, (249 NW 9th Street, Overtown, Miami, FL).

November 27, 2022: Veo Veo, I See I See, Mwen wè Mwen wè Soul Basel Creative Conversation and Celebration co-hosted by Miami MoCAAD and Hampton Art Lovers at Historic Ward Rooming House, (249 NW 9th Street, Overtown, Miami, FL).

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The Miami MoCAAD Team



Miami MoCAAD Board Members:

Marilyn Holifield, Hans Ottinot, Monique Hayes, Sheldon Anderson,

Dr. Nelson L. Adams III

Volunteers:

Michelle Johnson, Dale Jennings II



Director of Interactive Media:

Corbin Graves



Interns:

Charlie Farrell, Luz Estrella Cruz, Christian Allen, Ashley Caleb

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