The Radical Act of Taking Up Space
Curated by Kiara Cristina Ventura
(2019 Emerging Curator for the VisArts Emerging Curator Program)
Artists: Devin Allen, Murjoni Merriweather, Moréna Espiritual, Charles Johnson, Khari Johnson Ricks, Tanya Garcia, Samantha Vassor and Amani Lewis
November 6, 2019 – January 5, 2020
The Radical Act of Taking Up Space curated by Kiara Ventura, examines how eight young artists of color are redefining what taking up space means in today’s contemporary society. Mainly comprised of artists from Baltimore, the artists collectively present the many ways traditionally marginalized communities can alternatively create, transform and take up space as an act of survival, resistance, healing, celebration and/or confrontation. The Radical Act of Taking Up Space brings into focus the communities that are deliberately overlooked in the U.S. in which they are being pushed to the margins of society. By centering the narrative of the exhibition from their first-person perspectives, the exhibition and artists radically take up space within the gallery and beyond.
Through video, sculpture, photography, performance and painting, the artists activate viewers by stirring conversations around visibility, representation, agency and inclusion with their work. They collectively speak to their communities, and inherently those who are not from their communities, to engage dual dialogues; communal internal and external conversations meant to be had to progressively reach a point of understanding and therefore a solution involving support from allies. At its core, the artists as a unit speak to the Baltimore, low-income, African-Diasporan, Latinx, immigrant and queer communities. The Radical Act of Taking Up Space includes artists Devin Allen, Murjoni Merriweather, Moréna Espiritual, Charles Johnson, Khari Johnson Ricks, Tanya Garcia, Samantha Vassor and Amani Lewis.
As a way to create an interpretive strategy that further interrogates the various themes explored in the exhibition, a number of programs are being organized by the curator in collaboration with cultural producers from the region. All together, the programs activate the exhibition through dance, music, discussion, and education with engaging community and discourse in mind.