This exhibit theme of “Black Joy is Resistance” came to life during many honest conversations between Union, Gloria Swain and MakeRoom Inc., who were all looking to create space for joy during Black History Month. In discussing how joy can relate to resistance, Gloria Swain explained “Black Joy is Resistance” when she spoke about the racism she has experienced and how she chose joy and love as an act of resistance. This led to an open call to investigate this question and subsequently six artists were selected.
In addition to Swain, other artists featured include Jibola Fagbamiye, Elicser Elliott, Rae Clair, Danyal Barton, Adetona Omokanye and Frantz Brent-Harris.
These works incorporate a mix of mediums ranging from photography, digital artwork, AI, and traditional painting. The exhibit spans recollections of Black traditions and histories, testaments of Black presence and inspired imaginations of Black futures.
The exhibition aims to explore what joy as an act of resistance means, while subverting the common associations of Black History and identity with sadness and mourning. Black Joy is Resistance celebrates the Black voices that too often have been forced to fit into boxes to appease the gazes of others.
“Union is committed to providing a platform for local art and culture and strives to be a role model in community investment. Our partnership with MakeRoom Inc. was born out of a shared mission to create spaces for local artists that are inclusive and diverse,” says Syma Shah, Executive Director of Programming at Osmington. “It’s important for us to not only do this during calendar moments but throughout the year.”
The exhibit will be open to the public until May 31, 2023. Swain’s work will be presented in the Oak Room and MakeRoom Inc.’s Collection will live in the West Wing of Union Station until late Spring.