2022 VisArts Studio Fellow Jessica Valoris
January 18, 2023 – March 5, 2023
Gibbs Street Gallery
Passage/way/s is a mixed media installation that centers cultural and folkloric practices of fugitivity and marronage. It is a meditation on the liberatory legacies of enslaved Black people and the various ways they imagined liberation through escape, refusal, collective care, and resistance.
Through ritual performance, sculpture, paintings, and research doodles, Jessica Valoris weaves historical records and oral histories into speculative cartographies. The artist engages in immersive and embodied study of Black fugitivity through small practices of zine–making, poetry, movement meditations, and micro-paintings. Inspired by these daily acts of study, reflection, and ancestral reverence—Passage/way/s reimagines sacred geometries of the truck patch, night sky, and waterways.
How can the fugitive practices of Black ancestors support current formations in service of abolition, reparations, and earth-stewardship? What roadmaps and recipes are yet to be remembered or recollected? How can embodied study and creative practice help us return to these wisdoms?
Passage/way/s is about world-building, weaving discarded scraps into sacred blueprints, navigating the in-between, and listening to the echoes that call us home.
Passage/way/s is partially funded by contributions from Alternate ROOTS, Tour de Force, and The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
About the VisArts 2022 Studio Fellow:
Jessica Valoris is a Washington, DC-based artist and community facilitator. Weaving together mixed media painting, sound collage, and ritual performance, Valoris creates sacred spaces that activate ancestral wisdom, personal reflection, and community care. Inspired by the earth-based traditions of her Black American and Jewish ancestry, she explores ideas through the lens of metaphysics, spirituality, and Afrofuturism. Using art as a catalyst for collective healing, Valoris affirms the joy and vitality of Black people, complicating flattened histories of oppression, and creating space for affirmative celebration and re-definition. She values collaboration with community-based cultural workers and collectives, and her work supports culturally relevant wellness and resilience.
Valoris is an alumna of the Public Interest Design Lab, the Intercultural Leadership Institute, and Halcyon Arts Lab. Iterations of her most recent body of work, Black Fugitive Folklore, have been shown at The Phillips Collection, The Kreeger Museum, Afrikana Film Festival, and Brentwood Arts Exchange. Her interactive installation, Phone Home, debuted at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Austin, TX. Her interactive Xigga Project and Dope and Different portrait series has been featured at the Anacostia Arts Center, Culture Coffee Too, Afrotectopia NYC, and Harvard University’s Black in Design Conference. Valoris has been an ensemble member of Body Ecology Performance Ensemble and is a co-creator of the Colored Girls Hustle Hard Mixtape.
Learn more at https://www.jessicavaloris.com/
Image Credit: Carre Adams, video still from “A River Called Us”, 2022