Q&A with Zak Ové

by Diana McClure

Get Up, Stand Up Now is the school of loud, proud and unbound,” says Zak Ové, referencing the name of a summer-long exhibition that he has curated at London’s Somerset House. Tracing multigenerational artistic lineages across mediums and the Black diaspora, Get Up, Stand Up Now features the work of 110 interdisciplinary artists, and includes both members of the ancestral generation and a vast array of 21st century global Black creatives.

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Preston Riddick | Community Heroes Project

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This collaborative work was made with photographer, Anders Jones, for Community Heroes, a community-based public art project celebrating the everyday heroes of our neighborhoods. Installed in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, Preston Riddick, a long time resident, has worked at the intersection of African dance and history, theater and martial arts for nearly 5 decades. He founded the Indoda Entsha Cultural Program in the 70s, serving members of the community for many years. The banner will be installed in Fort Greene Park through 2020.

Faith Ringgold | Cultured magazine

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by Diana McClure

With its potent depictions of racial violence and African American empowerment now more palatable to the mainstream, the explicit political content in Faith Ringgold’s early work is increasingly de rigueur. For some, its visceral message seems to match the complex feelings of rage, discomfort and empowered self-representation wafting throughout the zeitgeist, alongside discussions on gender equality, structural racism, white privilege, economic disenfranchisement and so on—conversations Ringgold was having with a group of black intellectuals and activists in the 1960s, continuing a lineage of thinkers from Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman and Marcus Garvey, among others. Yet, Ringgold’s interests have taken her elsewhere in 2019. “I spoke about what I had to say at the time I had to say it,” are about the only words she wants to share regarding those early years.

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Uncommon Pursuits | Hue Magazine, FIT

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by Diana McClure

According to freelance casting director Mia Cusumano, Fashion Merchandising Management, confidence equals currency inside an intimate, unadorned audition room. “All I want to do is make an actor feel safe,” she says. “If they trust you, they trust themselves.”

In a sparse environment, usually furnished with just a table and three chairs, Cusumano and her casting partner, Meghan Rafferty, also serve as acting coach and director. The three work together to bring the scene to life. A typical session has Rafferty behind the camera and Cusumano reading with the actor. The duo shape a take until tone and nuance are perfect, revealing the performer’s capacity to convey a visceral understanding of the role.

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Utopian Imagination at the Ford Foundation Gallery | AFROPUNK.com

by Diana McClure

A three-part exhibition masterminded by a trio of women and a forward-thinking institution, under the theme of Utopian Imagination, is about to drop in New York City. The exhibit’s first act, which opens on March 5th, inaugurating the new gallery space run by the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, is called Perilous Bodies and it unfurls like an epic masterpiece, with raw, honest investigations into violence across the globe.

Tiffany Chung, “finding one’s shadow in ruins and rubble”(2014), 31 handcrafted mahogany wooden boxes, found photos printed on plexiglas, LED lights, electrical wire, 13.5 x 144 x 40 inches (Image courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York)

Tiffany Chung, “finding one’s shadow in ruins and rubble”(2014), 31 handcrafted mahogany wooden boxes, found photos printed on plexiglas, LED lights, electrical wire, 13.5 x 144 x 40 inches (Image courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York)

Grounded in the wisdom that there is no learning without reflection, the exhibition’s curators Jaishri Abichandani and Natasha Becker, in collaboration with the leadership of Lisa Kim, director of the Ford Foundation Gallery, felt it was crucial to first look at the pathology of human violence. The selections on view deconstruct injustice through visceral and emotive works of art. Brought together, they reveal the shared and interconnected fragility of a world infused with violence, displacement and individual suffering. Conceptually, bodies of knowledge, of land, and physical bodies are used as sites of both inquiry and testimony by the 19 featured artists.

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