Onajide Shabaka: On the edge of tomorrows… on view at Emerson Dorsch

Through March 26, 2022
Onajide Shabaka, Experience is a telling story, 2021, Tea solution, ink, and watercolor on paper, 36 x 44.5 inches, Emerson Dorsch

The show is a selection of works made throughout Shabaka’s five-decade career, evoking the artist’s range of expression and the web of connections he makes between stories, ethnobotany, deep mapping, and anthropology, among many other themes. With his practice and work, the artist imbues into his practice a model of how one can hold accumulated memories of horrific truths in history and place while in the midst of a land’s beauty and persistence. The show includes a cross-section of media, from photography, mixed media collage on paper, to an artist book, watercolors, and prints. A trio of Shabaka’s totemic sculptures will be installed in front of a new mural, inspired by his collage, You cannot know in advance what will happen (2021).

His video Silenced Histories (2019-21) will play concurrently during the exhibition as part of Emerson Dorsch Online (EDO), a video channel on the gallery’s website. Filmed while on a walk in the Gullah Geechee Cultural Corridor near the former lands of Major Pierce Butler’s plantation, the video documents how the histories in that place seem to be invisible, but, with the knowledge given forth by the credits, its dark pasts are more palpable, if ghostly.

Shabaka has said of his practice: “…my work, in its engagement with nature, history, technology and ritual – allows the viewers to experience a more holistic view of the world.”

Onajide Shabaka (Born Cincinnati, OH 1948. Live and works Miami, FL) is concerned with historical and biographical themes related to geography, as well as other social and natural sciences that include African diaspora and Native American cultures. His practice spans methods and media including meditative walks, photography, watercolor, collage, printmaking, artist books, sculpture, and video. His research and writings are a vital part of the discourse surrounding his work.

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