Bringing together the work of two interdisciplinary artists, this presentation centers on video projections that each take archival magazine photography as a departure point.
Gates’s Do you hear me calling? Mama Mamama or What Is Black Power? (2018) pays homage to the power of women by exploring the idea of the Black Madonna through reworking three decades of images drawn from the Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company archives, including Ebony and Jet magazines. A U.S. premiere, this two-channel installation interweaves scenes of musicians and singers, amplifying a performative approach to cultural legacies.
Smith’s Sojourner (2018) culminates with a feminist reimagining of an unpublished photograph from a 1966 Life assignment. Throughout the work, women performers take banners sewn with phrases by jazz musician Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda to different sites associated with community organizing, spiritual or artistic vision. On May 21, 2020, Smith will present Black Utopia LP (2012) in the Phyllis Wattis Theater; the Los Angeles-based artist will update her ever-evolving audiovisual performance on Afrofuturism and the jazz composer Sun Ra with materials drawn from Bay Area archives.