Black on Black on Black on Black

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Interlocked capital B letters that overlap in four different directions. Color fields within the letterform mix in the spaces where they overlap, like a venn diagram.
Black on Black on Black on Black, 2022. Logo design by Stacey Robinson.


Gallery visitors walk among large, colorful banners with digital collage images of afrofuturist art.
Stacey Robinson and Kamau Grantham [BLACKMAU], Black Audacious Freedom Dreams, 2022. Installation at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Photo by Fred Zwicky.


Sound system with albums and tapes plays music in a special sound booth installed in an art gallery. Black musicians are on the covers of the albums.
Blair Ebony Smith, (Refrain) Turn Me On, Won't You Come Home?, 2022. Installation, video, light, sound, collage. Installed in Black on Black on Black on Black at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Photo by Fred Zwicky.

Love Will Bring Us Back Together.JPEG

A collection of family photos that include images of a Black mother, father, and children and their family car. Happy memories. The colors are faded like these are old images from the 1980s or 90s.
Blair Ebony Smith, Love Will Bring Us Back Together from (Refrain) Turn Me On, 2022. Photo collage. Courtesy of the artist.


museum visitors view black and white prints inspired by Soul Train television show while a mural of a shadowy lynch mob looms larger than life as a backdrop to the installation
Patrick Earl Hammie, I AM... LEGEND, 2022. Mural and giclee prints on paper. Installed in Black on Black on Black on Black at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Photo by Graciella Abbey.


museum visitor views a large scale black painting that is a rorschach image painted onto a natural linen canvas in ultra black paint
Patrick Earl Hammie, I AM... THE NIGHT, 2022. Installation, including acrylic and charcoal on linen (pictured). Installation in Black on Black on Black on Black at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Photo by Graciella Abbey.


A black t shirt hangs in an art gallery. It has a spray of white artificial flowers attached. White text says "I require spece to be as black as I want."
Nekita Thomas, Black Space Protocols, 2022. Mixed media, video, installation. Installed in Black on Black on Black on Black at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Photo by Fred Zwicky.


A line of t shirts hangs in a gallery, with tape on the floor marking a box of protected space. In the space are black milk crates stacked and a video plays on the wall. Text on a shirt says "protect black spaces"
Nekita Thomas, Black Space Protocols, 2022. Mixed media, video, installation. Installed in Black on Black on Black on Black at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Photo by Fred Zwicky.


On view
Sep 24, 2022 to Dec 10, 2022
West Gallery, Light Court, and Contemporary Gallery

2022 School of Art & Design Faculty Exhibition

This exhibition will feature Black faculty in the School of Art & Design through the lens of the Black Quantum Future as proposed by Philadelphia-based activists and theorists Rasheeda Phillips and Camae Ayewa. The collaborative exhibition will explore Black identity, collectivity, positionality, healing, innovation, and education as explored via a multi-leveled/multi-dimensional immersive, critical, and openly reflective space.

This re-visioning of the Faculty Exhibition recognizes the legacy of Black knowledge and production in ways that supports the ongoing efforts by the School of Art & Design, Krannert Art Museum, College of Fine and Applied Arts, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign towards addressing and celebrating our unique diversity, equity, and inclusion.

A lecture series, community conversations, sound installation, and a catalogue is planned in conjunction with the exhibition.


Spotify Playlists | Listen

The artists have created Spotify playlists to accompany their work. Give a listen:


Blair Ebony Smith/lovenloops: (Refrain) Turn Me On/Won't You Come Home?


Patrick Earl Hammie: I AM... THE NIGHT



Co-curated by Patrick Earl Hammie, Stacey Robinson, Blair Ebony Smith, and Nekita Thomas

About the Artists 

Patrick Earl Hammie is an American visual artist and educator who specializes in portraiture, cultural identity, storytelling, and the body in visual culture. Hammie’s projects examine personal and shared Black experiences and offer stories that expand our understanding of others. He is Associate Professor and Chair of Studio Art. Hammie’s works are included in public and private collections, and have been supported by fellowships and grants from the Mellon Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, Midwestern Voices and Visions, Puffin Foundation, Tanne Foundation, the States of Illinois and Connecticut, and other private foundations


Stacey Robinson is an illustrator, graphic designer, and Assistant Professor of Graphic Design. Robinson’s artwork discusses ideas of “Black Utopias” as decolonized spaces of peace by considering Black affluent, self-sustaining communities; Black protest movements; and the art that documents them. Individually and as part of collaborative teams, Robinson creates graphic novels, gallery exhibitions, lectures, and Afro-futurist digital art that engages Black joy, resistance, and possibility. 

Featured in this exhibition is BLACKMAU, Robinson's collaboration with Kamau Grantham, Ph.D, also known as DJ KamauMau. Grantham was born in Buffalo NY. He is a psychologist and co-founder of the trio Dance Music Therapy. Making art together since 2019, the Robinson and Grantham decided to create a moniker and a practice that spoke to their obscure speculative imaginings that merged ideas of liberated Black futures, ideas of agency, sovereignty dystopia, and escape. BLACKMAU utilizes digital collage aesthetics influenced by, and mimic inexpensive mass production and advertising practices of the 1980’s-90’s Hip-Hop and House music culture. The duo's use of digital collage spans from rough cutout designs to pristine clean edges to the visible residue of the digital erasure. By centralizing Black people within the narrative their work prompts the audience to imagine themselves in the spaces with them. Their work is often printed large to command the Afrofuturist liberated space where the audience must engage with a mutual respect and often awe of the life-size subject matter.


Blair Ebony Smith is Assistant Professor in Art Education and Gender and Women’s Studies. She recently curated the yearlong exhibition Homemade, with Love: More Living Room at KAM. Smith, also known as lovenloops, is a learner from Richmond, Virginia who loves to make celebratory spaces, art, and sound with Black girls and those who love them. As a DJ and homegirl with Black girl celebratory collective/band, Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT), Blair has deepened her love for Black sound, music and making space for Black girlhood celebration with Black girls. Currently, she is dreaming, teaching, and making space and sounds that open us to listening, slowly and voluminously, especially to Black girls, people, and living beings. Her art and scholarship explore themes of memory, loops, home, and gathering. In her free time, you can find Blair cruising to her Dad’s jazz mix CD’s, DJing, concert going and enjoying time with loved ones.


Nekita Thomas Thomas (she/her) is a Black woman designer, researcher, and educator committed to developing anti-racist design solutions focused on the of wellness and celebration of Black urban life and culture. Her interests are in overlapping race, equity, placemaking, and joy by design to focus on the analysis and disruption of racist practices. She designs immersive installation spaces, tools, and frameworks to engage the public in critically examining the dynamics of racial identity and designing related social impact solutions, either immediate or speculative. Recent exhibitions include Englewood Mothers Against Gun Violence with Access Health Chicago, The Chicago Sukkah Festival, and the Over and Beyond Experience at Chicago Public Schools Former Overton Elementary. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Design For Responsible Innovation and received her MFA in Visual Studies from University at Buffalo.

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Cosponsored by Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and Giertz Gallery at Parkland College. Opening events produced in partnership with Pygmalion Festival. 

Supported by the Frances P. Rohlen Visiting Artists Fund/College of Fine & Applied Arts, School of Art & Design, and the James and Beth Armsey Fund.

In Blackest Shade, In Darkest Light is a forthcoming exhibition at Giertz Gallery at Parkland College curated by and featuring the art of Patrick Earl Hammie, with Kumasi J. Barnett, William Downs, Kenyatta Forbes, Robert Pruitt, Stacey Robinson, and Charles Edward Williams. It will be on view November 14 to February 18, 2023.

spiral bound page that has a grid of red markings with two circular fields, one gold and the other red and white. On each field is a rectangle.
  1. Feb 2, 2023 to Dec 22, 2023
A graceful plum tree in full flower sits under a full moon. The sky is inky black but the moonlight makes each blossom seem to glow with inner light.
  1. Mar 2, 2023 to Dec 22, 2023