News of the Derek Chauvin murder trial has been overwhelming for many, triggering memories from last summer and other past instances of police violence. Combined with the added stress of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and legislative attacks against Black political power, processing racial trauma can take its toll.
But a new cultural exhibition hopes to help Black people process through trauma and mourning. commissioned during last year’s racial justice uprisings, “On Protest and Mourning” features six installations centering and affirming Black life.
Hosted by the Caribbean Culture Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), “On Protest “pairs each installation with a poem exploring the grief triggered by police brutality, state violence, and the demonization of Black bodies.
On Wednesday, April 7, CCCADI will launch a virtual dialogue series featuring each of the six featured artists and leading organizers to navigate challenging questions like how to record our outrage while balancing private and public grief?
Curator Grace Aneiza Ali will lead the dialogue series. The first conversation features artist Jon Henry (Stranger Fruit) and literary artist and writer Qiana Mestric. Monifa Bandele, a member of the policy table leadership team for the Movement for Black Lives and the steering committee for Communities United for Police Reform, will give opening remarks.
“The narratives in the exhibition are intended to acknowledge that we must tell our own stories,” wrote Melody Capote, executive director of CCCADI. “We must acknowledge our losses, we mourn as a collective, that we speak truth to power, and most importantly, we must come together as an expression of our resilience.”
Running through June 30, “On Protest,” serves as valuable entry points to examining how communities process events. Virtual programming ranging from live DJ sets on Instagram to virtual tours of art installations continues to provide an outlet in the middle of multiple crises.
Founded in 1976 by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, CCCADI is committed to expanding opportunities to learn and explore the cultures of the African diaspora. Based in East Harlem, CCCADI’s programming centers on the experiences of Black people in the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean. The center’s work sits at the intersection of culture, equity, and justice.
“Violence fueled by racism is not a thing of the past, it is present, and it is constant,” said Capote. “This exhibition inspires us to take time to mourn and honor the lives lost, to stand in solidarity with protestors, and to reflect the role each of us plays in bringing systemic violence against Black lives to an end.”