The recent cultural climate has shed light on the systemic conflation of violence with the black male body—bodies that are often perceived as threatening. Featuring visual artwork by performing artists Raja Feather Kelly, Jaamil Kosoko, Jumatatu Poe, Will Rawls and David Thomson (in collaboration with artist/designer Tony Whitfield), this exhibition poses the question: how do men live with this perception and exist fully in the world? Hashtags emerged in the massive online response to these issues; here, we offer a physical place to these artists to respond, to be, to breathe.

“Venus Rising: Seeing through Blackness, Laughing Through Whiteness”

by Tony Whitfield in collaboration with David Hamilton Thomson

digital prints on archival paper


Initiated as a somewhat traditional interaction between photographer and model, this work represents the unexpected intersection of distinctly different artistic practices and has become phase one in a collaboration between choreographer/performance artist David Hamilton Thomson and artist/designer Tony Whitfield exploring maturation in an idiosyncratic racialized body.

Named after the Hottentot Venus, aka Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman, an enslaved black woman who was exhibited as an exotic in the early 19th Century London and Paris.  I see these portraits as containers of cultural markers and captured moments of a mutable black body. Of blue black complexions, white clay adornment and echoes of Bert Williams with a nod to Franz Fanon.