Internationally renowned artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah addresses the global COVID-19 pandemic, murder of George Floyd, and worldwide protests in support of Black Lives Matter in this visual essay of our times.
Drawing upon an extensive archive of images that mix iconic works of art with scenes shot and gathered in the globally fraught 18-month period between 2019 and 2021, Five Mumurations considers Akomfrah’s insights into post-colonialism, diasporic experience, and memory.
In the early 1990s, Drexciya, a Detroit-based techno duo made up of James Stinson and Gerald Donald, imagined an underwater kingdom populated by the children of pregnant women who had been thrown overboard or jumped voluntarily into the ocean during the transatlantic slave trade.
Drexciya’s founding myth has inspired numerous artists, among them Ayana V. Jackson who, in this exhibition, brings to life an immersive, feminist, and sacred aquatopia where African water spirits from Senegal to South Africa both midwife and protect the Drexciyans. Jackson asks that we reckon with the brutal history that cast these beings to the sea while simultaneously envisioning a world of powerful, resilient women. By using her own body to convey her message, Jackson actively engages in what it might have meant to be among the estimated two million captives who never made it to shore. What do you imagine the Drexciyans see looking back at us?