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Kaplan Gallery


Opening reception: Friday, May 31, 7-9 PM

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Curated by Mae A. Miller-Likhethe

May 31 – July 21, 2024

Kaplan Gallery

Drawing inspiration from the African American spiritual “Wade in the Water,” Wade foregrounds questions of Black lifeways and abolition geographies in the African diaspora. Through explorations of Black Atlantic cosmologies and political cultures, the exhibition develops ‘wading’ as a metaphor and world-making project that churns through the storied waters of rivers, oceans, marshes, and mangroves.

From baptism to biblical crossing, as survival strategy to evade colonial forces and slave patrols, and through practices of leisure and respite, the collective and creative acts of wading constitute a source of knowledge, sense of place, and struggle for global Black freedom. Wade “holds ground” within the Black geographies of Montgomery County, Maryland amidst the riverways, swamps, and “geographically difficult terrains” that have shaped histories of fugitivity, place-making, and community formation locally while unearthing parallel and interconnected modes of Black life across the African diaspora (Winston, 2023).

From elegy to energy source, the selected artworks unearth a multiplicity of offerings, (counter)mappings, and meditations on a “Black sense of place” (McKittrick, 2011). Featuring works grounded in the material histories, spiritual traditions, and speculative imaginaries of South Africa, Guinea Bissau, Jamaica, and New Orleans, among others, the exhibition asks: what emancipatory futures and intellectual itineraries emerge from the depth of Black aquatic knowledge?

Artists: Imani Jacqueline Brown, Jamilah Sabur, Dario Mohr, Arjuna Neuman and Denise Ferreira da Silva, Sónia Vaz Borges and Filipa César, Karabo Likhethe, Sa Whitley, Ada M. Patterson

Image: Sónia Vaz Borges and Filipa César, Mangrove School (Still), 2022

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