Camille Brown, director and choreographer of the powerful new Broadway revival of “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf,” is the first Black woman to direct and choreograph a play on Broadway in more than 60 years. Drawing inspiration from her own lived experience as a Black woman, Brown uses movement and dance to tell unique stories of humanity and sisterhood. In this interview, she shares lessons she’s learned in her career.
Dolls—from ancient representation of humans in art, to familiar children’s toys or use in religious rituals—have held meanings more than meets the eye. Now employing the lens of race and gender, the New-York Historical Society exhibition “Black Dolls” explores further the significant role of the Black doll in American history.
From the horrors of slavery through Reconstruction and Jim Crow, to the beginnings of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, this collection of 200 objects, textiles, sewing tools, photographs and ephemera represents a push back against negative racial stereotypes.
On International Women’s Day, VoteEquality launched the Artists 4 ERA initiative. In partnership with 28 prominent artists, including Shepard Fairey, Artists 4 ERA will be releasing limited edition, signed prints to benefit non-partisan, grassroots efforts for the Equal Rights Amendment. The full collection of artwork will make its debut at the launch event March 19 in Oakland, Calif. From there, the collection will tour the country at events organized by VoteEquality, partner organizations and artists advocating for gender equality.
“As gender rights are rolled back across the country and as the Supreme Court signals its willingness to forgo precedent, a new generation of activists is stepping up to the fight,” said Kati Hornung, executive director of VoteEquality. “Art as a form of expression has a unique way of motivating people.”
The iconic figure of Harriet Tubman supersedes the factual details of her life: There is the real Harriet Tubman and there is how she is remembered, which looms larger. In most of the surviving photographs of Tubman, we see her as a stoic freedom fighter and abolitionist. However, in 2017, a recently discovered photograph of her was auctioned at Swann Galleries, and it shows us a new side of Tubman: a younger, more feminine Tubman, dressed on trend for the 1860s. Perhaps this photo represents a more hopeful Harriet Tubman forging a life post-emancipation.
Never before have Black girls been so visible—the thought kept occuring to me as I explored the wonder that is “Picturing Black Girlhood: Moments of Possibility,” to date the largest exhibition on Black girls in the world. The expansive showcase of emerging and established photographers and filmmakers takes us on a journey into Black girls’ interior lives that simultaneously imagines a more capacious worlds for them.
The exhibition curated by photographers Scheherazade Tillet and Zoraida Lopez-Diago highlights the history of Black women photographers while also re-imagining this world for Black girls.
Faith Ringgold’s art on Harriet Tubman is an illustration of her capacity as an artist for taking somber stories and turning them into stories of triumph, victory and joy.
Faith (my mother) is a fabulist whose real interest is in projecting her ideas into the future. The older I get, the more I appreciate my mother’s art, in particular her insistence upon rendering the most apparently despairing circumstances of our histories as Black folk as opportunities for spiritual and magical transcendence.
Nettrice Gaskins is a digital artist and self-identified Afrofuturist whose work has been receiving national attention. A 2021 Ford global fellow, Gaskins’s work is featured in the current “FUTURES” exhibit at the Smithsonian.
Ms.’s Janell Hobson, who invited Gaskins to create original art for the Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Project, interviewed the artist over Zoom.
Dr. Nkeiru Okoye, whose first name means “the future is great,” has already dazzled the world as an internationally recognized music composer of opera, symphonic, choral, chamber, solo piano and vocal works. A 2021 Guggenheim fellow, Okoye is best known for her opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom, which premiered with The American Opera Project in 2014.
As 2022 begins, there are reasons to salute recent advancements women have made globally in the arts. But women are still underrepresented and underacknowledged in music and the arts.
At The Jane Club Wednesday, artist and activist Michelle Hartney talked about her collaborative installation fighting for birth control access and the power of reckoning with Margaret Sanger’s legacy.
“It’s so cruel to force pregnancy on people. These letters are testimony to that.”