Nekita Thomas, one of the four faculties at the School of Art & Design whose work will be featured in the Krannert Art Museum’s upcoming art exhibition “Black on Black on Black on Black”, said she wants viewers to come out with a new perspective. about darkness.
“Darkness is multidimensional, period,” Thomas said. “There is no frame you can put us on. Through time, space, music, art and design, there is no right way to live a Black experience “.
The exhibition, which opens on September 24, will explore black identity and collectivity, among other things, through the lens of the Black Quantum Future philosophy. The exhibition will feature artwork and design by Nekita Thomas, Blair Ebony Smith, Patrick Earl Hammie and Stacey Robinson.
Hammie said one aspect that will help the show is that none of the artists have to individually represent the black identity in its entirety.
“We are all on different kinds of levels, perhaps emphasizing different elements, so we don’t have to bring it all into every single job throughout the entire show,” said Hammie. “We support each other”.
Smith said that each piece in the exhibit carries an aspect of the black experience.
“Every piece of art or design that we bring to the show is very much based on lived experience,” Smith said. “We are exploring black identity, healing, speculation, innovation and education. It is us, it is the lived things that we do ”.
Robinson said that as artists, all four are capable of physically portraying these aspects of Blackness.
“These things, among others, are things that blacks are constantly dealing with,” Robinson said. “The great thing about the four of us is that we are artists. We can take what we have in our hearts and minds and turn it into a physical thing ”.
The artists said the exhibit is for anyone who wants to see it and they want conversations to start.
In addition to the audience, Smith said the exhibit was for themselves.
“First and foremost, I think this show is for us,” Smith said. “Having the space, resources, time and money to make it work. By being able to do this, we are able to reach black students and locals of color and people who might relate to their experience. “
Hammie said the collaboration between the four of them for this exhibit has brought them closer together.
“The show itself is a work of art that we all worked on together,” said Hammie. “Intellectually, we have developed it together, we have had the pleasure of having so many encounters together and we know each other differently and more intimately as creative people.”
Thomas said that while the four of them are all teachers, this exhibit is their opportunity to be creators.
“You have us as creators, but you also have us as teachers, and I took this as an opportunity to focus on myself as a creator, not as a teacher,” said Thomas. “And I totally embraced him for the show and found him to be my inspiration.”
Artists all have their own sources of inspiration, but they all share the same inspiration of their experiences.
“Nowadays, it’s just opening your eyes and being black,” Hammie said. “I watch the news and social media, and I can’t help but talk, but I don’t have the time or the ability to go out and be on the street, but I do what I do in the studio and in the classroom.”
Smith said that while the exhibit will be lively and joyful, it will also deal with serious topics.
“Funk and jazz, joyful music will be part of it, but it’s also about how I remember my ancestors, my parents who aren’t here,” Smith said. “There are many different ways in which loss, pain and joy emerge from our installations, and I want all of this to be felt.”
Stacey echoed this, saying that art must be taken seriously.
“Come hungry, because the food will be amazing, the rhythms will be amazing, it will be an amazing experience, but don’t take the art for a joke,” said Stacey. “Because it isn’t.”