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Shani is the February Artist In Residence at the Ace Hotel!  In this capacity, she has been making new work that will be featured in a solo exhibition in the hotel’s gallery.


ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Ace Hotel New York is proud to present a new collection of works by artist Shani Jamila. The exhibition will be on view March 7 – March 31 with a reception on Thursday, March 7 from 7 – 9pm.

Artist Shani Jamila’s collages, paintings and soundscapes explore family, lineage and identity.

The collages utilize her archive of photo essays created over the course of her travels to nearly fifty countries as source material. They interrogate how the idea of home is constructed and the surrealist nature of our political reality. As Jamila encounters people and places through her camera lens, moments of recognition or solidarity emerge which are reorganized and re-purposed through collage, simultaneously revealing and obscuring identity and familiarity.

Her paintings began as a creative mapping of her personal family records. Jamila is in the seventh generation on both sides of her lineage. The content of the work, and its color palette, are drawn from enormous genealogical charts produced by her grandmother. 

While the materials vary, there is a constant refrain in Jamila’s work of who she is, where she comes from and how she interacts with the world, whether via the camera, the photograph’s transformation to collage or the meditative repetition of pressing her fingertips to paint and canvas. With Seven, she invites us into an immersive installation to experience how the work is woven together.

ABOUT THE RESIDENCY


ACE AIR: SHANI JAMILA 
Private Happening

“At Ace, we agree with Richard Avedon when he says, “Anything is an art if you do it at the level of an art.” Sculpture, mineral, sound and thought – some people wink and call it art. Each Sunday night our Artists in Residence program invites members of the community to spend one night with us, enjoying a modest tab and access to a cart of supplies. On Monday mornings, we find out what they’ve made.

This February, artist Shani Jamila will spend her Sundays at Ace Hotel. Her travels to nearly fifty countries deeply inform her collage, photography and painting practice. She has exhibited and performed at the Manifesta European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Harvard University’s Cooper Gallery, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Smack Mellon, SCOPE Art Fair, Brooklyn Museum, Corridor Gallery, City College, New Museum and Princeton. The community conversations she’s hosted at institutions including the Aperture Foundation, Lincoln Center, Schomburg Center and New York Live Arts are known for engaging discussions about the arts and society. This was also the subject of her TED Talk, “Reimagining Resistance Through Art,” which she delivered during a residency at the organization’s headquarters. A Fulbright scholar once named “One of the 35 Most Remarkable Women in the World” by ESSENCE Magazine, her image and quote are featured in “A Choice to Change the World,” a permanent exhibition at her alma mater Spelman College.

An artist yourself, you say? Make your marks at Ace Hotel New York using promo code ARTSCHOOL and recieve 10% off your stay.”

This Saturday (2/2, 6pm), Shani is doing a live artist talk to mark the closing of the iconic Soul of A Nation exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. This is also the beginning of her newest project. Details below!


“Celebrate the launch of artist Shani Jamila’s new podcast Lineage with photographers Ming Smith and Russell Fredrick of the Kamoinge Collective, a group founded during the Black Power movement which is still active today. 330 free tickets in Auditorium line at Admissions at 5 pm.


The full schedule of activities is available on the Brooklyn Museum website. Lines often form one hour before ticket distribution at the Admissions Desk. Members can pick up tickets from Member Services while supplies last.”  Would love to see you there!

What a year it’s been!  Shani’s artwork was displayed from Italy to Harvard, she lived in Spain for a month and traveled to Africa twice, and community conversations about the work went from public stages to the pages of Aperture Magazine.  As we look back to move forward, we’re grateful for the lessons learned in 2018 and looking forward to the work we’ll collectively create in 2019.

Manifesta Biennial- Palermo, Italy

In 2018 Shani debuted eight collages and an accompanying soundscape in her first international Biennial! “Manifesta is the European Nomadic Biennial, held in a different host city every two years. It is a major international art event, attracting visitors from all over the world. Manifesta is the go-to place for discovering emerging artists, thought provoking ideas, new artworks especially commissioned for the event, and creative experiences in dialogue with spectacular locations of each host city.”

               

The work, which was part of a show that rewrote the narrative of Black portraiture in European art,  was accompanied by a talk she delivered in Palermo, Italy about her artistic practice.

New Solo Exhibition

Another highlight of the year was having her photography, collage and film featured in Portals, a solo exhibition curated by Senior Curator of MoCAD and co-founder of ARTNOIR Larry Ossei-Mensah. This exhibition drew on Shani’s years of international travel to nearly 50 countries. It was accompanied by a series of public events, featuring an all star roster of guest speakers and performers including author and NYT photography critic Teju Cole, Queens Museum president Laura Raicovich, Broadway singer Alicia Hall Moran and celebrated Random House One World editor Chris Jackson.

shani jamila solo show portals

Harvard Exhibition

Six of Shani’s collages were included in Harvard’s Cooper Gallery spring exhibition, ReSignifications. The show was originally presented in 2015 at New York University’s Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy as part of “Black Portraiture[s] II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories.” She traveled to Cambridge for the opening.

shani jamila

Aperture Article

Aperture published an article about Shani’s art and travel with author and photographer Teju Cole, curator Larry Ossei-Mensah, and writer and art worker Laura Raicovich. As the intro states, “what follows is an edited excerpt of this conversation that addresses mobility and its implications, particularly for black bodies in our times, and the meaning of images produced by Cole and Jamila. Both, in their diaristic approach to photography, contend with how constructions of home, borders, and nationality, among other intensely felt notions, are largely figments of imagination that, while powerfully experienced, are equally slippery when parsed. Further, Jamila and Cole both confront subjective and objective visibility of themselves as photographers, seers, and artists.” Click here to read the full article. 

shani jamila teju cole aperture


Honoring Poetry & Performance
This year Shani celebrated the remarkable life of the writer Ntozake Shange by performing an excerpt of her seminal work For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. She began in poetry, so she was grateful for the opportunity to pay tribute to her by revisiting her artistic foundation.

She was also so thankful for the opportunity to honor her beloved Uncle John. An award winning playwright and author, he’s devoted his entire life to using his art in support of freedom, justice and the liberation of Black people– as the co-founder of the Free Southern Theater, a field secretary for SNCC and the founder of Junebug Productions. He is currently fighting dementia.Two weeks ago, the family created an opportunity for the community to contribute to his care. It has already raised over $20,000! What a joy to be able to give him his flowers while he’s here to enjoy them. Thanks to every person who has written beautiful notes and donated during this season of giving. You have gotten us over 2/3rds of the way to our goal in just a matter of days. If you’d like to contribute, click here. 

Travel Photography

This year Shani traveled to Africa twice and visited five countries in three months: Italy, Spain, Malta, Tunisia and Morocco. She got to have wonderful adventures, including skydiving in Spain while living there for a month with Unsettled, studying Dali, and enjoying a bucket list trip to the blue town of Chefchouen. Images she made over the course of her travels are featured on her Instagram account. Follow her there for a peek into her visual diary as she moves throughout the world!

Facilitating Community Conversations

In 2018 Shani continued her work addressing inequity and catalyzing cultural change. Stand out moments were moderating a conversation of dancers, musicians and choreographers with Rashida Bumbray and Dancing While Black at the University of Virginia, & leading a conversation about art and justice at the Aperture Foundation’s Prison Nation opening. Much more to come on this front in the new year!


 

Hello friends,
 

On Saturday, the brilliant writer and poet Ntozake Shange joined the ancestors. This week on social media I’ve been celebrating the deep impact she had on my life and work with a reading from one of her best known works, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. It’s my honor to share it here with you.
 

With everlasting gratitude for her life,

 

Shani

This week Aperture published an article about Shani’s art and travels with author and photographer Teju Cole, curator Larry Ossei-Mensah, and writer and art worker Laura Raicovich.
 

As the intro states, “what follows is an edited excerpt of this conversation that addresses mobility and its implications, particularly for black bodies in our times, and the meaning of images produced by Cole and Jamila. Both, in their diaristic approach to photography, contend with how constructions of home, borders, and nationality, among other intensely felt notions, are largely figments of imagination that, while powerfully experienced, are equally slippery when parsed. Further, Jamila and Cole both confront subjective and objective visibility of themselves as photographers, seers, and artists.”
 

Read the full article here: https://aperture.org/blog/shani-jamila-teju-cole/
 

shani jamila teju cole aperture
 

ABOUT APERTURE:
“Aperture, a not-for-profit foundation, connects the photo community and its audiences with the most inspiring work, the sharpest ideas, and with each other-in print, in person, and online.
 

Created in 1952 by photographers and writers as ‘common ground for the advancement of photography,’ Aperture today is a multi-platform publisher and center for the photo community. From our base in New York, we produce, publish, and present a program of photography projects, locally and internationally.”
 


 

Refinery29 asked Shani to share some thoughts about Nia Wilson, Letifah Wilson, race and representation in the media. Click here to read the article.
 

“Nia and Letifah are inherently worthy of our empathy. Their loved ones deserve our support,” Jamila said. “This incident deserves our outrage. This perpetrator deserves real consequences. And the images that accompany the way too limited media coverage of this tragedy should reinforce that narrative.


 

After a truly wonderful springtime sabbatical in Spain and Morocco (check out all the pictures from Shani’s month with Unsettled), Shani will debut several new collages in the Manifesta European Biennial of Contemporary Art in Palermo, Italy! The work will be accompanied by a talk she’ll deliver about her artistic practice and a soundscape she collaborated on with the talented musician Brett Sroka.
 

 

Manifesta is the European Nomadic Biennial, held in a different host city every two years. It is a major international art event, attracting visitors from all over the world. Manifesta is the go-to place for discovering emerging artists, thought-provoking ideas, new artworks especially commissioned for the event, and creative experiences in dialogue with spectacular locations of each host city.
 

It was founded in Amsterdam in the early 1990s as a European biennial of contemporary art striving to enhance artistic and cultural exchanges after the end of Cold War. In the next decade, Manifesta will focus on evolving from an art exhibition into an interdisciplinary platform for social change, introducing holistic urban research and legacy-oriented programming as the core of its model.
 

Manifesta is still run by its original founder, Dutch historian Hedwig Fijen, and managed by a permanent team of international specialists. Each new edition is started up and fundraised individually. Currently, Manifesta is working from its offices in Amsterdam and Palermo, with an upcoming office in Marseille for Manifesta 13 opening in the French city in 2020.”
 

Shani’s work is part of ReSignifications, an exhibition and conference that rewrites the narrative of black portraiture in European art. Details about the opening at the Zisa Zona Arti Contemporanee (ZAC) are on the flyer below.
 

exhibition shani jamila resignifications manifesta biennial italy plalermo

shani jamila
 

Shani will be debuting several new works on paper in this exhibition, opening tonight at Harvard University. If you are in the Cambridge area, please come to the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery for a reception beginning at 6pm.
 

The Cooper Gallery spring 2018 exhibition features an interpretive version of the remarkable installation, ReSignifications, by our guest curator, Awam Ampka. ReSignifications was originally presented in 2015 at New York University’s Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy as part of “Black Portraiture[s] II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories.”
 

ReSignifications links classical and popular representations of African bodies in European art, culture and history as it interprets and interrogates the “Blackamoor” trope in Western culture that emerged at the intersection of cross-cultural encounters shaped by centuries of migration, exchange, conquest, servitude, and exile.
 

The installation includes contemporary artists who respond to the artists and designers of yore, and infuse inert objects of art with voice and presence across the ages.”
 

shani jamila

Collages by Shani Jamila

Tonight, Shani will be at the University of Virginia to moderate a post performance conversation with Rashida Bumbray & the Dance Diaspora Collective, presented by Dancing While Black.
 

“Join us for a FREE performance of Run Mary Run by Rashida Bumbray & Dance Diaspora Collective. This performance serves as the kick off event for “August in Perspective,” a series of arts events scheduled throughout the month of February fostering creative responses to the events of August 11th and 12th through theater, music, and dance workshops with guest artists, UVA students and faculty, community organizations, and local area high schools.
 

Rashida Bumbray has been performing the ring shout – a spiritual dance developed during slavery – for about a decade. For the newest installment of this work, Run Mary Run, she considers the harmonic ideas and tonal vocabulary of the McIntosh County Shouters – master ring shout artists – as a point of departure. Creating an active ritual for the ceremony of the ring shout, the performers go on a ride through the cosmologies of the Low Country, Geechie Sea Islands, Tennessee Blues, P Funk, and Hip Hop – relating the shout to the history of Black music. Run Mary Run is developed in collaboration with a large ensemble, the Dance Diaspora Collective and special guest master dancer, Adenike Sharpley, Professor, Oberlin College. Costumes by Gingie McLeod, Dindi Designs.
 

Rashida Bumbray Adenike Sharpley

“Motion and music and memory entwined” – The New York Times Best Concerts of 2012
 

“It was an enduring blood memory…we were in the waters of William Henry Johnson’s I Baptize Thee.” – 2014: The Year According To LaTasha N. NeVada Diggs, Walker Arts Center
 

Nominated for a 2014 BESSIE: Outstanding Emerging Choreographer
 

2014 Recipient: Harlem Stage Fund For New Work
 

The performance will be followed by a talkback session and panel moderated by Shani Jamila, with Paloma McGregor, Director of Angela’s Pulse and Founder of Dancing While Black, Rashida Bumbray, Adenike Sharpley, and local artists, students, and faculty.
 

About the Artists:
Rashida Bumbray’s choreography draws from traditional African American vernacular and folk forms including ring shouts, hoofing, and blues improvisation in order to interrogate society and initiate healing. Bumbray was nominated for the prestigious Bessie Award in 2014 for “Outstanding Emerging Choreographer.” Her performance Run Mary Run in collaboration with Jason Moran and Dance Diaspora Collective was named among Best Concerts of 2012 by the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff. Bumbray recieved the 2014 Harlem Stage Fund for New Work. Her work has been presented by Columbia University, Caribbean Cultural Center, Dancing While Black, Harlem Stage, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New Museum, Project Row Houses, SummerStage, Tate Modern and Weeksville Heritage Center. Bumbray received her MA in Africana Studies from New York University and her BA in African American Studies and Theater & Dance from Oberlin College where she studied Jazz, Blues and Afro dance forms with Adenike Sharpley and collaborated with the late Wendell Logan’s Oberlin Jazz Ensemble.
 

Since 2012, Dancing While Black has worked to bring the voices of Black movement artists from the periphery to the center. A New York-based initiative with national reach, DWB supports dialogue, documentation, process and performance, particularly among Black artists whose practices do not fit neatly into the boxes created for us. Over the past five years, DWB has produced the work of more than a dozen Black dance makers, supported 22 Fellowship artists in the developing of their practice and networks and gathered scholars, writers and artists to participate in diverse platforms that center their voices and build community. Our work is done in partnership with individuals, institutions and communities committed to creating a more equitable landscape. Now celebrating its Fifth Anniversary Season, DWB will host a three-day festival at Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance in May 2018 and is developing a new digital journal that will launch in Fall 2018.
 

Angela’s Pulse creates and produces collaborative performance work dedicated to building community and illuminating bold, new stories. We provide a home for interdisciplinary collaborations that thrive on both politics and play, and we are committed to developing timely performance works that provoke, inform and inspire. Co-founded by Paloma and Patricia McGregor, Angela’s Pulse was named for their mother Angela, an artist, teacher and activist who continues to inspire their work.
 

Dancing While Black/Angela’s Pulse is supported by the Surdna Foundation and Dance/NYC’s Dance Advancement Fund, made possible by the Ford Foundation.
 

This event was made possible by the support of the Arts & Sciences Collective Response: Moving Forward Fund, UVA’s Department of Drama and its Dance Program, The Carter G. Woodson Institute, Citizen Justice Initiative, and the University of Virginia Arts Council.”
……….
 

ALSO: Praise Traditions Workshop with Dance Diaspora Collective
Friday Feb. 2, 11am-1pm
UVA Helms Theater
Free and Open to the Public
 

……….
Kick Off Events for UVA’s August in Perspective Series
#runmaryrun #dancediasporacollective
 

Photo Credits: Shani Jamila

Shani Jamila Carrie Mae Weems Park Avenue Armory The Shape of Things

Legendary artist Carrie Mae Weems invited Shani to be one of “more than 50 artistic all-stars, centered on ‘interrogating the deep structures and multiple dimensions of violence'” featured in her convening at the Park Avenue Armory, The Shape of Things.
 

“As Armory artist-in-residence Carrie Mae Weems concludes her year-long residency, she continues to grapple with the history of violence in our country-personally and within her body of work. Weems curates this day-long convening of like-minded artists, writers, poets, musicians, thinkers and social theorists, inviting them to join her in a critique of our tumultuous political and social climate. Audiences are invited to join participants in interrogating this complex topic through a series of readings, performances, conversations, and other artistic responses held throughout the day in the Armory’s first and second floor historic rooms.
 

Notable participants include: choreographer and dancer Kyle Abraham; poet Elizabeth Alexander; performer Eric Berryman; performance and installation artist Tania Bruguera; urban revitalization strategist Majora Carter; innovator James Burling Chase; actress and playwright Eisa Davis; architect Elizabeth Diller; The Met’s Kimberly Drew; photographer John Edmonds; juvenile justice reformer Adam Foss; writer and performance artist Malik Gaines; social practice artist Theaster Gates; filmmaker Tony Gerber; FLEXN dance pioneer Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray; trombonist, painter, and composer Dick Griffin; dancer and choreographer Francesca Harper; trombonist Craig Harris; vocalist Nona Hendryx; playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins; cinematographer Arthur Jafa; artist and cultural worker Shani Jamila; trumpeter JAWWAAD; gaming pioneers Navid and Vassiliki Khonsari; NYU Professor and musician Jason King; philosopher Gregg Lambert; composer and Bang on the Can co-founder David Lang; novelist, filmmaker, and curator Ernie Larsen; Wooster Group founding member and director Liz LeCompte; Harvard Professor Sarah Lewis; journalist Seamus McGraw; poet Aja Monet; jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran; performance studies professor Fred Moten; visual artist Shirin Neshat; playwright Lynn Nottage; professor of contemporary rhetorical theory Kendall Phillips; doctor Jeremy Richman; poet Carl Hancock Rux; performance artist Alexandro Segade; writer and activist Tanya Selvaratnam; guitarist and composer Marvin Sewell; playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith; conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas; performance artist Carmelita Tropicana; puppeteer Basil Twist; theater director Roberta Uno; vocalist and composer Imani Uzuri; and Wooster Group founding member and actress Kate Valk, among others.”
 

Join us! For more details about what the day will hold, check out the article quoted above in the New York Times.

 

New Solo Exhibition by Shani Jamila

Photography and Collage Sourced from Around the World

 

Art@UJC  proudly presents PORTALS, a solo presentation of photographs and collages by Brooklyn based artist and traveler Shani Jamila. Curated by cultural critic and co-founder of ARTNOIR Larry Ossei-Mensah, this exhibition draws on Jamila’s years of international travel to nearly 50 countries. Utilizing the camera as a “portal,” the artist explores the connective tissue that binds humanity, while highlighting individuals and communities that often go overlooked and ignored. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events that will be free and open to the public.
The programming began on November 29th, when Shani spoke about storytelling in photography with:

  • Teju Cole, Writer, Art Historian and Photography Critic, New York Times Magazine
  • Laura Raicovich, President and Executive Director of the Queens Museum and
  • Larry Ossei-Mensah, Curator and Co-Founder of ARTNOIR

 

Shani Jamila, Teju Cole, Laura Raicovich, Larry Ossei-Mensah, Portals Exhibition

Photo Credit: Christopher Anderson (Teju Cole), Kris Graves (Larry Ossei-Mensah), Alaric Campbell (Shani Jamila) and Michael Angelo (Laura Raicovich

It continued on December 15th, when Portals: A Solo Exhibition by Shani Jamila presented One World: Art + Literature.

Photo Credit: Shaniqwa Jarvis for the New York Times (Chris Jackson), Derek Blanks (Shani Jamila)
Shani was in conversation with the legendary publisher and editor Chris Jackson.

 

On January 19th, we held a lunchtime discussion on Reframing the Image: Art as a Tool for Social Justice. Shani was joined by Brendan Wattenberg, Managing Editor of Aperture Magazine and Elizabeth Mendez Berry, Director of Voice, Creativity and Culture at the Nathan Cummings Foundation.


 

Finally, the exhibition closed with a reception featuring a performance by Broadway singer and voice of Shani’s short film Altar, Alicia Hall Moran and musician Brett Sroka.

 

 

This Saturday Shani will be performing at the Brooklyn Museum as part of the closing celebration for the landmark exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85. Join her and other members of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter at 200 Eastern Parkway in BKNY. The performance begins at 3:30, wear red and come ready to play!

 

shani jamila black women artists for black lives matter brooklyn museum
September 16, 2017
1:00-5:00 p.m.
Cantor Auditorium (3rd Floor) and Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art (4th Floor)

 

Come together to celebrate the exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85 with artists, activists, and scholars. This daylong event honors the trailblazing artists in the exhibition, and highlights the intergenerational connections between art and activism.

 

Schedule:

  • 1 pm Curator Tour with Catherine Morris and Rujeko Hockley
    Sackler Center, 4th Floor
  • 2 pm Conversation with Howardena Pindell and Andrianna Campbell
    Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
  • 2:30 pm Conversation with Barbara Chase-Riboud and Catherine Morris
    Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
  • 3 pm Thomas Lax and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar on Blondell Cummings
    Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
  • 3:30 pm Performance: Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter
    Sackler Center, 4th Floor

shani jamila brooklyn museum black women artists for black lives matter

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter formed in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and believes that a unified and polyvocal front is a powerful agent of change in the fight against racialized violence. In coming together, we are committed to producing work that addresses Black care and self-determination through public programming, exhibitions, and digital projects.

 

**Update: It was a fantastic day in Brooklyn! See below for some video and pictures from our performance.
 

 

 

 

 

 

On July 12th Shani will be performing in Times Square with Mendi + Keith Obadike’s Compass Song. Join them at 11am on Broadway Plaza between 45th and 46th streets.

 

“Turn your walk through Times Square into a journey through a song. Artists Mendi + Keith Obadike have stretched fragments of music, poetry, stories, and myths across the pedestrian plazas and surrounding blocks in all four cardinal directions, for visitors to discover whether they’re exploring theneighborhood or simply on their way to work. The result is Compass Song, an app-based public sound artwork inspired by Times Square’s rich history as the Crossroads of the World. 
 
A special kick-off performance exemplifying the Compass Song experience will take place on the Broadway Pedestrian Plaza between 45th and 46th Street. Sixteen performers will vocally recreate the city’s sounds as they hear them and then begin singing the freedom song Walk With Me as they divide into four ambulatory groups, each group walking off in one of the cardinal directions. The audience is encouraged to follow whichever group they choose, finding their own individual viewing and listening experience across the landscape of Times Square. Like the app itself, it is an invitation to meditate on the process of finding yourself at a crossroads and choosing your path.”
With Mikel Banks, Monstah Black, Joshua Bowens, Julie Brown, Rashida Bumbray, Nia Drummond, Asma Feyijinmi, Jovian Ford, Paloma McGregor, Nina Angela Mercer, Sharaé Moultrie, Shani Jamila, Sue Rock, Jamara Wakefield, and Akron Watson.