Black on Black on Black on Black

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The face of a young black girl with long, natural hair is surrounded by clouds and ferns as she emerges from a silver sphere in space. Reflected on the sphere are waterfalls and green plants. The effect is magical.
Stacey Robinson, Earth Seed, 2022. Digital collage. Courtesy of the artist.

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Black and white image of a man and woman doing the bump, a dance from the late 1970s US popularized on Soul Train. Both dancers have natural afro hairstyles
Patrick Earl Hammie, D8.40.53 BUMP 1, 2021. Artist's giclee print 1/1. Courtesy of the artist and 33 Contemporary

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A black woman with a knit cap bends over a sound board with large speakers nearby. She is performing beats at a Black Girl Genius Week celebration. On the wall behind her are photos of girls from the program.
Blair Ebony Smith performs as lovenloops during Black Girl Genius Week at Krannert Art Museum. Image courtesy of the artist.

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Malt liquor bottles with alternate messages on the label, such as "Oh Hell No." This work by Nekita Thomas is meant to combat negative racial stereotypes
Nekita Thomas, Don't Drink the Kool-Aid, 2015-2016. Package design, installation, color photograph. Courtesy of the artist.

Exhibition

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.

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.

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.

Nekita Thomas is a visual designer, researcher, and educator with expertise in critical race design, participatory design, and social practice. She is Assistant Professor in Graphic Design and works primarily with themes of perspective identity, race and representation, racial equity, commodity, media, popular culture, urbanism, and resiliency to focus on the analysis, explication, and disruption of racially driven exclusionary and oppressive sociocultural practices.

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

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Two Latina girls stand near papers prompting them to think about representation. One bends down to write with a marker on the poster paper. The other stands and watches. Both have long dark hair and are middle school age.
  1. Apr 12, 2022 to Jul 9, 2022
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Allen Stringfellow, Street Smarts II, ca. 1990s. Collage and watercolor on paper. Gift of John and Dorothy Gardner. 2014-8-1
  1. May 16, 2022 to Aug 5, 2022