BLACK Imagination: The States of Matter doesn’t officially open until tomorrow evening's First Thursday Art Walk, but the parts of the exhibition that are already online reveal an ambitious wealth of information to sift through and experience—a website, a blog, and a Soundcloud page full of audio responses to three prompts. The first two prompts are questions: “What is your origin story?” and “How do you heal yourself?” The third, “Imagine a world where you are loved, safe, and valued,” has sparked the most poetic responses.
“A world where I am safe is a world beyond words,” responds Jazz Brown, an artist known for his hard-edged, geometric paintings that simultaneously evoke dynamism and balance. “A reality free of duality, a time before time, a space beyond space.”
“This world allows me to desire my desires without shame and force,” says poet and activist L’Oreal Snell. “This world lets me take a breath and doesn’t charge me to exhale.”
BLACK Imagination: The States of Matter is the latest project from artist, curator, and community organizer Natasha Marin, who is also the founder of Reparations.me, a website and Facebook group that allows white people to offer goods, services, and cash to people of color in acknowledgement of the vast wealth disparities that persist in the US along racial lines. For this month-long exhibition at CORE Gallery in Pioneer Square, Marin has joined forces with a curatorial team that also includes poet Imani Sims, writer and educator Amber Flame, and Los Angeles-based performance artist and musician Rachael Ferguson. Together, these curators have assembled an impressive lineup of multimedia talent, including author and 2016 Stranger Genius nominee Robert Lashley, musician Stas Thee Boss (of Thee Satisfaction) and current Guggenheim Fellow Paul Rucker.
For Marin, who had been piloting her Reparations project for exactly 565 days when we spoke, this exhibition represents an effort to provide a respite from “The Struggle” by focusing on healing and celebration. “Although BLACK IMAGINATION includes contributions from children, youth, incarcerated womxn, unsheltered folks, single parents, and non-Western black people, it is not about The Struggle,” she says. “It’s home-baked bread with butter for a stomach tight with growling. BLACK Imagination is for black people first. It’s a celebration of ourselves.”
BLACK Imagination: The States of Matter runs through January 27 and is open by appointment only. Visit the exhibition's website to RSVP.