NOW CURATING: YOMI
s t r e e t a r t i s t
With three cups of magic and a fist full of perseverance, ociele hawkins’ poetry and performance intertwines meditations on the search for and discovery of Black joy with profound reflections on perception, memory, and survival. ociele’s raw and fearless poetry is as profound as it is revelatory. Her words act as a serum expanding our notions of what’s possible, offering a rare glimpse into simultaneous deep pain and limitless joy. Her work often leaves me speechless and humbled, with a ceaseless sense that self-love is a necessary component of resistance.
ociele is a poor, working-class, queer Black nonbinary femme from Philadelphia. She is an organizer whose work has ranged from fighting gentrification to working with high school students in education justice. ociele is an unapologetic and brilliant college dropout, a survivor, and an artist shattering assumptions while building power for her people and approaching her work with ferocity. Preorder her forthcoming poetry book From the Dust We Rose at brightlikeblack.com, and help send her to Ghana at https://www.gofundme.com/send-ociele-and-omi-to-ghana. – Eva Wǒ, curator
If all the oppressions that marginalized me were gone how would I arrive? We had to go to the future to answer this question. In the year 2040 Obeah is in love with herself. This unselfish love was achieved through work; both the nonlinear journey of personal healing and the systemic work to dismantle capitalism through organizing. The piece takes place moments before a gala celebration of decades of labor and the 5-year anniversary of liberation; when she is in deep reflection of her journey. This video is a collaboration between ociele hawkins and Eva Wǒ, with additional support from Dana Nichols and Kris Keen.
The text of the poem featured in Obeah From Tomorrow
See that’s what oppression does to you—it’ll have you blaming yourself for the shit that ain’t got nothing to do with you.
This love was EARNED!
Shit! I feel like i’m still earning it. But you know what? Earn ain’t got nothing to do with this. This my, before I was even thought of or screeched my 1st cry, divine right. Every single goddamn day my body extends its contracts to inhale and exhale, I got the right to love me the way I do.
Allah has blessed me.
Because I choose to accept myself for who I am. I choose to no longer make excuses for who I am. Not to qualify or disclaim who I am. My life is to be lived for myself and not for the approval or appeasement of others.
That’s work. I’ve learned how to do my work: Be kind to myself. Have patience with myself. Give myself 2nd chances.
I choose to organize myself in favor of a flourishing life, denying the oppression’s that wanted me isolated, and afraid, and eventually dead. I chose to be happy.
Zach Zecha is a fairly recent Philly transplant, moving here from Colorado in 2013 to get his MFA from PAFA. He was a founding member of Automat, a gallery he started with some fellow PAFA MFA-ers on the second floor of the 319 N. 11th st. building. He makes paintings and assemblages that remind that we are not in control, and that is beautiful. His work is glorious chaos at first glance and then slowly you begin to find meaning in the connections he makes, going from a loud scream to gentle whisper. I never thought hot pink duct tape could make me so sad. An inner conflict ever-present. Symbolism both invented and universal is presented, redacted, and then re-presented in a different form. He cites Baudrillard, Plato, and the like; but really, in the most human terms, his work asks us to stand back and appreciate the beauty of our chaotic, broken world as it crumbles in front of us; at the same time, he asks us to work hard to make meaningful connections. Very relevant work for our current political climate.
-Veronica Cianfrano, curator
Maria Dumlao works with photography, artists’ books, installation, performance, sound, and video. Her fantastic exhibition at Vox Populi last September, Next to Nothing, consisted of three works: one single-channel video, a multi-channel video, and a portable record player with a 7-inch painted vinyl record, spinning. The video, Yours As Much As Mine, isolates everyday house-hold objects in a suspended animation which takes these objects out of context and takes the viewer out of this world.
For her contribution to Curate This, I asked Maria to give me a set of items that everybody should read, view, watch, etc.
-Julianna Foster, curator
Some homework for Curate This‘ readers, in no particular order: