[Working Title] Young, Gifted and Black / Curated by Hank Willis Thomas / 2015

Titus Kaphar / Toyin Ojih Odutola / Adam Pendleton / Omar Victor Diop / Yashua Klos / Ebony G Patterson / Bethany Collins / Gerald Machona / Jody Paulsen / Nina Chanel Abney / Tabita Rezaire / Derrick Adams / Jacolby Satterwhite / Hank Willis Thomas / Nolan Oswald Dennis / Kiluanji Kia Henda 26 September - 11 November 2015 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

NINA CHANEL ABNEY | DERRICK ADAMS | SADIE BARNETTE | ZOE BUCKMAN | BETHANY COLLINS | NOLAN OSWALD DENNIS | OMAR VICTOR DIOP | TITUS KAPHAR | KILUANJI KIA HENDA | YASHUA KLOS | GERALD MACHONA | TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA | EBONY G PATTERSON | ADAM PENDLETON | JODY PAULSEN | TABITA REZAIRE | JACOLBY SATTERWHITE | SHINIQUE SMITH

In keeping with our mission to investigate critical moments in the interconnected histories of global black life, Goodman Gallery is pleased to present To Be Young, Gifted, and Black the next edition of the ongoing series Working Title, an exhibition curated by one of our most thoughtful and provocative artists, Hank Willis Thomas.

Taking inspiration from Nina Simone’s iconic song To Be Young, Gifted, and Black (1969), written in memory of playwright Lorraine Hansberry, the author of Raisin in the Sun (1959) who died in 1964 at the age of 34, To Be Young, Gifted, and Black is about our moment, looking back at theirs. What lies between their Civil Rights and our #BlackLivesMatter? All over the world we cry out ever more fervently that our lives matter, even as evidence mounts supposedly to the contrary. However, we ourselves have never been in doubt of this truth, as Simone’s powerful words attest. She shares other great truths, singing that When you’re young, gifted, and black / Your soul’s intact, and, To be young, gifted, and black / Is where it’s at.

To Simone, these affirmations—these unique gifts—of soul and belonging, gained because of one’s race, age, and abilities, not in spite of, are fact. So too, to the artists in To Be Young, Gifted, and Black. Speaking both to the spirit of the song and of our times, they highlight the timeless matter-of-factness of Simone’s words, as well as a conscious contemporary need to hear, feel, and state her assertion boldly and loudly, unapologetically and with gusto.
Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He received his BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and his MFA in photography, along with an MA in visual criticism, from California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco.

Thomas has acted as a visiting professor at the MFA programs at Maryland Institute College of Art and has lectured at Yale University, Princeton University and the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris. His work has been featured in several publications including 25 under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers (CDS, 2003), as well as his monograph Pitch Blackness (Aperture, 2008). He received a new media fellowship through the Tribeca Film Institute and was a 2011 fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. He has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and abroad and his work is in numerous collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum and Museum of Modern Art. His collaborative projects have been featured at the Sundance Film Festival and installed publicly at the Oakland International Airport.

Artworks

About

Gerald Machona

Gerald Machona is a Zimbabwean born Visual artist with a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from Rhodes University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Town, completed at the Michaelis School of fine art. Machona’s work has been included on several prominent international exhibitions, which include the South African Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in Italy, All the World’s Futures and at the 20th Biennale of Sydney, The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed. Machona’s work has also appearedin exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum in New York and at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town.

Machona works with sculpture, performance, new media, photography and film. The most notable aspect of his work is his innovative use of currency—particularly decommissioned Zimbabwean dollars—as an aesthetic material. Machona’s current work engages with issues of migration, transnationalism, social interaction and xenophobia in Africa.

In 2013, Machona featured in Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young South African’s supplemental and was selected by Business Day and the Johannesburg Art Fair in 2011 as one of the top ten young African artists practicing in South Africa. In 2019 Machona was included on the group exhibition Still Here Tomorrow to High Five You Yesterday at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town.

Tabita Rezaire

Tabita Rezaire (b.1989, Paris, France) is infinity incarnated into an agent of healing, who uses art as a means to unfold the soul. Her cross-dimensional practices envision network sciences – organic, electronic and spiritual – as healing technologies to serve the shift towards heart consciousness. Navigating digital, corporeal and ancestral memory as sites of resilience, she digs into scientific imaginaries to tackle the pervasive matrix of coloniality and the protocols of energetic misalignments that affect the songs of our body-mind-spirits. Inspired by quantum and cosmic mechanics, Tabita’s work is rooted in time-spaces where technology and spirituality intersect as fertile ground to nourish visions of connection and emancipation. Through screen interfaces and collective offerings, she reminds us to open our inner data centers to bypass western authority and download directly from source.

Tabita is based in Cayenne, French Guyana. She has a Bachelor in Economics (Fr) and a Master of Research in Artist Moving Image from Central Saint Martins (Uk). Tabita is a founding member of the artist group NTU, half of the duo Malaxa, and the mother of the energy house SENEB.

Tabita has shown her work internationally – Centre Pompidou, Paris; Serpentine London; MoMa NY; New Museum NY; MASP, Sao Paulo; Gropius Bau Berlin; MMOMA Moscow, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; ICA London; V&A London; National Gallery Denmark; The Broad LA; MoCADA NY; Tate Modern London; Museum of Modern Art Paris – and contributed to several Biennales such as the Guangzhou Triennial, Athens Biennale, Kochi Biennale (2018); Performa (2017); and Berlin Biennale (2016).

Hank Willis Thomas

Hank Willis Thomas (b. 1976, New Jersey, United States) is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture.

Thomas has exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the International Center of Photography, New York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands.

Thomas’ work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), Writing on the Wall, and the artist-run initiative for art and civic engagement For Freedoms, which in 2017 was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas is also the recipient of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship (2019), the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2018), Art for Justice Grant (2018), AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), Soros Equality Fellowship (2017), and is a member of the New York City Public Design Commission. Thomas holds a B.F.A. from New York University (1998) and an M.A./M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts (2004). In 2017, he received honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute of Art and the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts.

Nolan Oswald Dennis

Nolan Oswald Dennis (b. 1988, Zambia) is an interdisciplinary artist from Johannesburg, South Africa. His practice explores what he calls ‘a black consciousness of space’: the material and metaphysical conditions of decolonization.

Born in Lusaka, Zambia and raised in Midrand, South Africa. He holds a Bachelors degree in architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and a Masters of Science in Art, Culture and Technology for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Dennis’ work questions the politics of space and time through a system-specific, rather than site-specific approach. He is concerned with the hidden structures that pre-determine the limits of our social and political imagination. Through a language of diagrams, drawings and models he explores a hidden landscape of systematic and structural conditions that organise our political sub-terrain. This sub-space is framed by systems which transverse multiple realms (technical, spiritual economic, psychological, etc) and therefore Dennis’ work can be seen as an attempt to stitch these, sometime opposed, sometimes complimentary, systems together. To read technological systems alongside spiritual systems, to combine political fictions with science fiction.

Dennis’ is the 2016 winner of the FNB Arts Prize, and has exhibited in various solo and group shows, including the 9th Berlin Biennale (2016), the Young Congo Biennale (2019), Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Architekturmuseum der TU München, among others. He is participating in upcoming exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Le Lieu Unique (Nantes), and the Goodman Gallery, and is a 2020 artist in residence at NTUCCA (Singapore).

Dennis will be the next artist in residence at the Delfina Foundation, London from September 2021.

Kiluanji Kia Henda

Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979, Luanda, Angola) employs a surprising sense of humour in his work, which often hones in on themes of identity, politics, and perceptions of post-colonialism and modernism in Africa. Kia Henda brings a critical edge to his multidisciplinary practice, which incorporates photography, video, and performance. Informed by a background surrounded by photography enthusiasts, Kia Henda’s conceptual-based work has further been sharpened by exposure to music, avant-garde theatre, and collaborations with a collective of emerging artists in Luanda’s art scene. Much of Kia Henda’s work draws on history through the appropriation and manipulation of public spaces and structures, and the different representations that form part of collective memory, in order to produce complex, yet powerful imagery.

Kia Henda has had solo exhibitions in galleries and institutions around the world. His work has featured on biennales in Venice, Dakar, São Paulo and Gwanju as well as major travelling exhibitions such as Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design and The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists. In 2019, Kia Henda’s work was acquired by Tate Modern in London, and he was selected to participate on the Unlimited sector at Art Basel. In 2020 Kia Henda will be shown at the MAN Museo d’Arte Provincia di Nuoro in Italy, marking his first major solo exhibition in a European museum.

Kia Henda currently lives and works between Luanda and Lisbon.