The Tokyo Show:
Black & Brown are Beautiful
Black & Brown are Beautiful
LAUNCHES AT HYDE PARK ART CENTER
JUNE 30, 2019 – SEPTEMBER 29, 2019
Exhibition brochure and artist bios available HERE
CHICAGO, SUMMER 2019—THE TOKYO SHOW: BLACK & BROWN ARE BEAUTIFUL explores cross-cultural solidarity across communities that are often kept apart by geographic or political distance. The exhibition features artwork by Carris Adams, Brandon Breaux, Cog•nate Collective, Alex Bradley Cohen, Sarita Garcia, Jose Resendiz, Diana Quiñones Rivera, late filmmaker William Greaves, and is on view at Hyde Park Art Center (5020 S Cornell) in the Kanter McCormick Gallery June 30 – September 29.
The Tokyo Show advocates for redirected routes of dialogues across global space—specifically through arts, and as a way to reconsider complex identities. In addition to the selection of artwork, the exhibition includes a wider project to circulate ephemera by contemporary Black and Brown artists to special collections libraries globally—as an act of connection, increased mobility, and self definition. Receiving libraries will include collections in Berlin, Lagos, Beijing, and a list that is still growing.
The thought behind this two-part project (exhibition/resource) began in 2014 shortly after a Missouri Grand Jury declared “no indictment” in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown. That same week, Chicago-based curator Asha Iman Veal happened to be visiting women’s fashion boutiques that reference and expand on Black American Hip Hop style, in the popular Tokyo (Japan) shopping districts of Harajuku and Shibuya. In a meaningful encounter during this tough moment back home, she came across the clothing labels in a shop: Black is Beautiful, and Love, Protect, Respect.
This unexpected message hinted at the potential for a broad and border-defying interpersonal sharing and discourse—unmediated by the dominant structures of the U.S., and led by fine artists instead of commercial media and news outlets.
“Seeking ways to constantly expand one’s space both literally and figuratively is a necessary challenge, but one that can be mastered and a way for people of color to thrive,” says Chicago-based curator, Asha Iman. “The instrumentality of ‘race’ is an attempt to restrict human fluidity. So what does this mean for humans that understand movement as life?”
“People will live out expected narratives as a way to be unseen,” adds artist Alex Bradley Cohen. In his own statement within the exhibition, Cohen experiments with a new series of drawings alongside striking portraiture. “We know what people look like, we don’t know what people feel like” as individuals, on the inside.
“I want to talk about what it was like living in New Orleans, England, Puerto Rico,” says filmmaker Diana Quiñones Rivera, who contributes an autobiographical work, D on the South Side. “Segregation doesn’t come from today. It’s organized. It’s institutionalized.”
Public programming for The Tokyo Show: Black & Brown Are Beautiful will take place in July, in collaboration with Asian Improv aRts Midwest and Kioto Aoki’s Shikou Kairo: Patterns of Thought (Hairpin Arts Center).
Additional audio contributions in the exhibition are shared via WhatsApp and mobile technology from artists including Désirée Coral, Ishita Dharap, Clemens Melzer, Lavie Raven, and former Hyde Park Art Center visiting resident, the late curator Bisi Silva.
LAUNCHES: opening reception at Hyde Park Art Center, July 13, 2019.
Exhibition brochure and artist bios available HERE.