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"Some of her banners are heraldic and authoritative, as in the 2017 Biennial; others are connective, meant for two people to hold up, bearing warmer messages such as APPRECIATE YOU IN ADVANCE.

Those she exhibited in the Biennial are collectively titled “In the Wake,” after the book In the Wake: On Blackness and Being (2016), by the scholar Christina Sharpe, who theorizes the “wake”—in all its maritime, funereal, and cognitive meanings—as a frame for understanding and enacting Black existence in an anti-Black world. It is a heavy concept, necessarily so, that derives its original metaphor from the slave ship. But what Sharpe calls “wake work” is not simply mourning. Rather, she writes, it is the effort to “imagine new ways to live in the wake of slavery, in slavery’s afterlives, to survive (and more) the afterlife of property.” Inside those parentheses lies possibility. “I am trying to find the language for this work, find the form for this work,” Sharpe writes. Smith’s banners propose one such form." - Siddhartha Mitter, Artforum