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Khaleelah I. L. Harris' Curatorial Portfolio

CUSP 

A Solo Exhibition by Gherdai Hassell 

September 14 - October 29th | Mehari Sequar Gallery

"In an exploration of identity, migration, and self-expression, Gherdai Hassell brilliantly layers the color Black and engages elements of Bermudian cultural history to articulate possibilities for the future. Through figurative mixed media collage on paper and tapestry, and abstract mixed media collage work on wood, Hassell uses her anthropomorphic "alibi" figures and profound yet unintelligable moments to present Black Women with a telegram from the future. Their messages are clear--we are on the CUSP of something greater. "

 

- Khaleelah I. L. Harris, Exhibition Curator

MORE TRUE THAN FACT

A Retrospective Body of Work by Djibril Drame

July 20th - September 4th | Mehari Sequar Gallery

"More True Than Fact" is a retrospective exhibition that explores the themes and concepts articulated in the works of Senegalese photographer Djibril Drame. The exhibition draws together key elements of the lived experiences explored and the narratives articulated over the course of Drame's 15 year career to present his particular vision for the future of African people. Natural elements, scenes, and customs of senegalese culture are presented and positioned to aid Drame in articulating his vision for the future. 

Although the future we are attempting to build is merely a figment of our imaginations, not yet intelligible through our ways of knowing, the momentousness of our freedom makes every vision constructed more true than fact.

 

- Khaleelah I. L. Harris, Exhibition Curator

Overgrown

A Solo Exhibition by Shara Mays

March 30th - May 8th 2023 | Mehari Sequar Gallery

Overgrown is a solo exhibition in which 10 works of abstraction, one sculptural installation, and one sound recording come together to track movement through a transdimensional plain. The sculpture that uses old clothing from both Shara and her mother, and the audio recordings of phone conversations between the two, present the profound interiority of Black Women’s familial relationships. While the show beautifully explores abstracted landscapes similar to prior pieces by the artist, it incorporates an evolution of the ideas within her studio practice. In particular, visually archiving memories through the act of painting.

The work of Shara Mays is abstraction. The density of the ethos and ancestry that informs her work, and the work and lives of so many others, creates figuration. It makes intelligible and logical the intuitive and chaotic world in which her work is constructed. Her works are performances of both subconscious motions and are in constant conversation with the natural world. Originally from Princeville, North Carolina, her new body of work seeks to document and archive memories of her early childhood in The South. What is the importance of the North Carolinian-in-origin, Shara-in-design, and transregional-in-praxis lineages of these works? 

- Khaleelah I. L. Harris, Exhibition Curator

An Aesthetic of Blackness: The Sacred & The Profound

A Solo Exhibition by Jamilla Okubo

November - December 2022 | Mehari Sequar Gallery

An Aesthetic of Blackness: The Sacred and the Profound is a theoretical intervention which considers the home as the most significant site of intimacy, Black Femininity and style. The ability to see oneself, and for others to see you, is a form of validation. Where do we truly see, unsee and examine ourselves the most? In her third solo exhibition, Jamilla Okubo takes a leap in a new direction. Through muted colors and an emphasis on the objects that characterize our most significant site of intimacy, Okubo reveals her subjects in a new way. 

 

The homes that set as the backdrop for the different periods in our lives are determined by the figures that dominated those spaces. In consideration of the glamorous, sexy, assured, stylish subjects she admires, Okubo is interested in embracing and validating the existence of Black Women through the presentation of this particular site of intimacy. 

 

In this exhibition, Okubo offers a new visual language for Black womanhood. This is a pivotal moment in the early career of Jamilla Okubo, as it reveals a new stage of her portrayal of Black women. While her subjects remain centered conceptually, they are truly articulated through their surroundings. We get an opportunity to consider how the stages of our lives are reflected in the figures and objects that shift in our home. Through the relationship between the painter and her subject, we also get a fresh perspective into the ways in which black women aid one another in the process of determining themselves.  

 

 

Jamilla Okubo’s third solo exhibition is a testament to the power and necessity of intimate spaces in the efforts to build ourselves and our futures. It is a message to the world that reveals the profundity of identity formation at the most significant sites of intimacy, and how visually stunning those sacred moments can truly be.  

- Khaleelah I. L. Harris, Exhibition Curator

Space Between

A Solo Exhibition by Redeat Assefa