BWA for BLM Offers Space for Dialogue Between Black Female Artists

  • Kariima Ali
The diverse collective Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter takes over all seven rooms of Houston's Project Row Houses with an internationally-reaching exhibition
In Houston, each room of Project Row Houses is taken over by a different subgroup of the BWA for BLM collective, representing artist communities in London, LA and four from New York—separated by art practices named Object, Ephemera, Performance and Digital. One room is a dedicated meeting space for the formation of a BWA for BLM chapter in Houston.
Alexandria Smith is part of New York's Digital group. They have created an audiovisual installation for the Project Row Houses exhibit called Well Read Women, which highlights literature from women of color. "I feel that art has become this elitist inaccessible world where people from the community feel like they cannot become a part of engage with," Smith tells Creators. "That's why I think what we're doing is so important because we are allowing the community to have a voice on a larger platform and in a different space than just in their own communities or neighborhoods."
The Object group presents a room filled with a series of flags touching on traditions found in communities in the Caribbean and West Africa, now very much transplanted in various strands of African American culture.
For their part, the Ephemera group looks at how to create a Self Love Toolkit, while a series of performances exploring the idea of home will be put in and outside Project Row Houses by the Performance group. LA brings an augmented reality piece.
For Leigh, it's less about the work that's on display and more about getting these artists together. "I'm not really focused on outcomes," she says. "I'm interested in the discourse that we're developing, rather than the art products or objects that we create. I think that it's more important to just enjoy the experiences of working together."
It's something that the London BWA for BLM chapter—a group of four called Thick/er Black Lines—is also keen on getting at. It's apparent through their room, which displays a Transport for London inspired map charting the history of Black British art.
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