You enter the room and are confronted with hanging vessels that once bore witness to the struggle of this life, that once had a name, that once had a purpose. These vessels are abstractions of the black and brown body.
The black and brown body is stripped down of its identity. The vessels are full of life, waiting to conceive space and conversation, culture and identity, and reconciliation and joy. They are 3-dimensional abstract portraits of souls, and represent those who have gone before us in death, inciting us to rethink our reasons for living, and calling upon us to engage with the narratives of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, and our other sacrificed women and men with a new ceremony.
These objects are derived from a traditional Nigerian drum called the ‘Udu’. It is commonly a musical instrument played by hands and used to carry water. This simple instrument reflects the double consciousness that many blacks have to endure.
How do we begin to fill the vessels of today? How do we give birth to new forms of honesty in the face of institutionalized hate and fear? Too many men and women of color are being killed on the streets. Where do we turn to release our pain, to start a dialogue, and act in transformative resolution?
HUMAN is an provocation to acknowledge the black and brown condition as an spatial, physical, contextual, and a visceral experience. Begin your own journey by entering this room. Acknowledge this space and time as sacred. Do not run. Do not hide. Because the black and brown body cannot.