Touring: A Contemporary Black Matriarchal Lineage in Printmaking X Claire Oliver Gallery
study the Black Matriarchs
like my aunt timmie.
it was her iron,
or one like hers,
that smoothed the sheets
the master poet slept on.
home or hotel, what matters is
he lay himself down on her handiwork
and dreamed. she dreamed too, words:
some cherokee, some masai and some
huge and particular as hope.
if you had heard her
chanting as she ironed
you would understand form and line
and discipline and order and
Like our foremothers, Black women printmakers have used the tools in our hands to create visual languages that tell the stories of our past, present, future and the in-between spaces within fractal time. A Contemporary Black Matriarchal Lineage in Printmaking explores the narratives of 9 contemporary Black women printmakers, living in the United States of America, who have shaped a place for themselves. Utilizing the Elements of Art, in an improvisational style, each printmaker shares matriarchal perspectives on Black interiority.
Co-curator, Delita Martin and I champion collaboration, yet we knew the importance of presenting an exhibition that centered the works solely created from the creativity, self-reflexivity, intellectual thoughts and hands of the Black woman. A Contemporary Black Matriarchal Lineage in Printmaking marks the first national exhibition, curated by Black women printmakers highlighting the experimental prints of Established and Mid-Career Black women printmakers.
It is of importance to note that each woman, although several practice in varied areas of the arts, self-identifies* as a printmaker. We have dreamt of an emic printmaking survey that honors the present work of Black women who are actively exhibiting and practicing in the discipline of printmaking. It is our hope that many more solo and group exhibitions will come into fruition for contemporary Black women printmakers. Stories are being told, are you listening to what Black women are saying, are you seeing what Black women are creating? If you see us, if you hear us “you would understand form and line and discipline and order and America.
-Tanekeya Word, co-curator, visual artist, printmaker
Karen J. Revis, Lisa Hunt, Ann Johnson, Delita Martin, LaToya H. Hobbs, Tanekeya Word, Chloe Alexander, Stephanie Santana, Sam E. Vernon
* Various Black women artists have created prints, who do not consider printmaking to be their primary artistic identity. We distinguished between the women who have devoted all or a portion of their artistic practice to become an Established or Mid-Career Printmaker.
Lucille Clifton, “study the masters.”Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000 (Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 2000) 25.