Elena Gross: Like Yours, Like Mine, Like Home
Seeking “home” within diasporic Blackness
April 19, 2016
7:00 – 8:30 PM
Limited to 15 participants, RSVP here
...the Negro has been formed by this nation, for better or for worse, and does not belong to any other. – James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (81)
The American Negro is a unique creation; he has no counterpart anywhere, and no predecessors. – James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (84)
It can be a difficult and painful endeavor to feel connected to a place or time when one’s origin is fraught and complicated by a history of violence that continues to perpetuate itself in contemporary culture. Black art tradition(s) contain many depictions and descriptions of precarious relationships to place, time and the mythos of home and origin.
Two quotes plucked from James Baldwin’s seminal book The Fire Next Time (1963), alongside a selection of works by Black artists such as Romare Bearden, Kara Walker, Wangechi Mutu, and Kerry James Marshall, will provide context for an open-ended discussion on such questions as: does "home" reside in a shared dialect or experience or style? What are the radical possibilities of being disconnected from space, or of existing between spaces? How does the idea of Blackness as diasporic open up where, what, and how "home" gets defined? And how does it open up who gets to decide?
This class will be a seminar style, discussion-based exploration of art, literature, poetry, and personal experience designed to foster lasting conversations and provide no easy or fully resolved answers. Participants are encouraged to bring any poetry or literature they feel is fitting for discussion within this theme.
- Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers
- Homi K. Bhabha, “Introduction,” The Location of Culture, p. 1-18
- James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time, 1963
Elena Gross is a writer currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Visual & Critical Studies from California College of the Arts. She lives and works in the Bay Area and her writing focuses on gender, race, and sexuality in contemporary visual culture.
Radical Art Theory Nights are conversations about art theory, art history, or research-based art practices that reflect on narratives of the historically marginalized. Visiting writers, curators, and artists contend with both current and canonized concerns, critically engage with texts, and lead open community discussions.
Radical Art Theory Nights are facilitated and organized by C.A. Greenlee in partnership with Southern Exposure’s Artists in Education program.