Wa Na Wari Central District
Aug 1–Sept 22, Thursdays–Sundays
Recommended by Jasmyne Keimig
Wa Na Wari—a collaborative project run by Inye Wokoma and other artists including Elisheba Johnson, Rachel Kessler, and Jill Freidberg—opened in April. The team curates group shows of three to four black artists per month. The current cycle includes excellent work by Xenobia Bailey, Henry Jackson-Spieker, and Marita Dingus, but it was artist Nastassja Swift's video piece in a hot room upstairs that struck a nerve with me. I think it was the masks. Larger than life-size, Swift's masks depict black female ancestors with half-closed eyes, hair neatly done in braids, Bantu knots, cornrows, and twists. In the video, Remembering Her Homecoming, black women dancers dressed in white, adorned with the giant wool masks, dance, walk, and sing freedom songs along the Richmond Slave Trail in Virginia. Swift's video, no more than 10 minutes long, grapples with the concept of home, being home, having a home, feeling at home in one's body and community.