We Were There: Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter at The New Museum

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter
Thursday, September 1st, 2016
The New Museum, New York City

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter


At 6pm there was a line coming out of The New Museum that went down Bowery and Stanton nearly meeting Chrystie. We were here to see the one-night pop-up event Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter (BWAforBLM). As part of her residency, artist Simone Leigh invited BWAforBLM, a collective she organized this past July, for an evening of solidarity.


We were all in line waiting to see Black women artists. We were essentially waiting for them.

Through September 18th, Leigh is exhibiting The Waiting Room, a statement and response to what institutions do to the female Black body. She honors Esmin Elizabeth Green who died after lingering for 24 hours in a hospital waiting room.

“Obedience is one of the main threats to black women’s health; it was a survival mechanism that Green waited 24 hours before collapsing,” says Leigh. “What happened to Green is an example of the lack of empathy people have towards the pain of black women.”

For her exhibit, Leigh centralizes the care of the body, and asserts disobedience as a form of self-determination. There are stations for healing and time for healers.

Waiting or not waiting is a form of privilege choosing. I saw the waiting of us, the diverse formation of folks standing in line, as a kind of belated honor to Black women artists. As I stood with friends, young people of color who work in museums, there was a patience in the statement our collective waiting body said to institutions of art that evening, We value Black women, the bodies and spaces they inhabit, and the art they create. Give them your time, space, and attention.

The artists were dressed in red; floating figures of their ether. An atmosphere resulting from art-making as acts of resilience. It wasn’t just exhibit, it was moment. For some of us, it was being part of one. For others, like me, who is not Black, it was being a witness to one. This is not what it usually feels like in The New Museum or most spaces like museums. This was here because of Black Women Artists–what they brought with them, what they made within the evening, and what they shared.

Participation in and with institutions often come with the covenant of propriety. The evening gave a glimpse of possibilities–what an experience could be if institutions shared space with artists instead of allowed artists in.

Art you can feel! Yes! #blackgirlmagic #blacklivesmatter #bwaforblm #blackart #nyc @newmuseum

A post shared by BlackWomenArtistsForBlackLives (@bwaforblm) on


Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matters include the following artists (please contact Hossannah with link update requests):
Simone Leigh, Elia Alba, Omololu Refilwe Babatunde, Firelei Báez, Chloë Bass, Suhaly Bautista-Carolina, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Aisha Tandiwe Bell, Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels, Michelle Bishop, Tokumbo Bodunde, Janice Bond, Alicia Boone-Jean-Noel, Charlotte Brathwaite, Sheila Pree Bright, LaKela Brown, Tracy Brown, Rashida Bumbray, Crystal Z. Campbell, Alexis Caputo, Tanisha Christie, Andrea Chung, Elvira Clayton, Pamela Council, Aimee Meredith Cox, Vivian Crockett, Una-Kariim A. Cross, Stephanie A. Cunningham, Tamara Davidson, Joy Davis*, Sonia Louise Davis, Danielle Dean, Lisa Dent, Abigail Deville, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, DJ Tara (Tara Duvivier), Abby Dobson, Kimberly Drew, Dominique Duroseau, Minkie English, Nona Faustine, Catherine Feliz, Yance Ford, Carolyn Lieba Francois-Lazard, Tia-Simone Gardner, Ja’Tovia M. Gary, Ebony Noelle Golden, Kearra Amaya Gopee, Stephanie Graham, Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Deana Haggag, Carrie Hawks, Robyn Hillman-Harrigan, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Lehna Huie, Rujeko Hockley, Kemi Ilesanmi, Ariel Jackson, Tomashi Jackson, Ashley James, Shani Jamila, E. Jane, Fabiola Jean-Louis, Steffani Jemison, Jacqueline Johnson, Natasha Johnson, Ladi’Sasha Jones, Jay Katelansky, Daniella Rose King, Nsenga Knight, Ya La’Ford, Geraldine Leibot, Toya A. Lillard, Stephanie Lindquist, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, Anina Major, Helen Marie, Brittany Marrow, Nomaduma Rosa Masilela, Tiona McClodden, Paloma McGregor, Glendalys Medina, Nina Angela Mercer, Helina Metaferia, Joiri Minaya, Jasmine Mitchell, Elissa Blount Moorhead, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Shervone Neckles, Jennifer Harrison Newman, Mendi Obadike, Lorraine O’Grady, Adenike Olanrewaju, Sherley C. Olopherne, Jennifer Harrison Packer, Sondra Perry, Shani Peters, Julia Phillips, Ada Pinkston, Sharbreon Plummer, Mary Pryor, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Amber Robles-Gordon, Shellyne Rodriguez, Karen Rose, Clarivel Ruiz, Annie Seaton, Karen Seneferu, Derica Shields, Alexandria Smith, Tiffany Smith, Mikhaile Solomon, Kara Springer, Mary A. Valverde, Sam Vernon, Shannon Wallace, Camille Wanliss, Anastasia Warren, Patrice Renee Washington, Fatimah White, Nafis White, Ayesha Williams, Saya Woolfalk, Lachell Workman, and Akeema-Zane.


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