I grew up in South Africa, privileged. Instead of shying away from this, I chose to use it, working to diversify mentalities through the art programs and projects I’ve worked with. Joining Dacra and working with the art program in the Miami Design District is no different. Confronted with the anger that has (so justifiably) built up from decades of systemic and systematic inequality, I see the undeniable need to proactively support black and brown artists more than ever.
So, what are we doing to ensure BLACK LIVES MATTER?
As curator I work with the Craig Robins Collection. It has not been publicized but the largely contemporary art collection, since the beginning, embraced artists from diverse cultures and backgrounds; from Henry Taylor to Franz West, Tracey Rose to Barkley Hendricks. The collection exhibition in our offices features Tschabalala Self, Urs Fisher, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Karon Davis, Huang Yong Ping, Mickalene Thomas, to name but a few.
On the Left: Kehinde Wiley' Passing/Posing (St. Clement of Padua). On the Right: Tschabalala Self 's Ice Cream
The collection has always been based on timely conversation, and this diversity is carried through the public art program in the Miami Design District with work by Buckminster Fuller, Dozie Kanu, John Baldessari, Jamilah Sabur, Paula Crowne, Virgil Abloh, Zaha Hadid, and more. This is not to sound self-congratulatory but rather to share that within this, we have a responsibility to highlight black artists’ talents. We will continue to do this through museum loans, and now also through our communications which will further fore-front black voices and creativity
Above: Henry Taylor titled Love in Long Island (portrait of Kelly Salters)
And we will be doing more: the Miami Design District art program is in conversation with a number of projects geared toward this creative community. Our goal is to invite critical conversation and introspection. We are working with community leaders to determine what this should look like, as we learn what is needed.
Lessons learned this week: we need to tune in, listen, and absorb the depths of racial inequality that have been expressed by artists such as Kehinde Wiley. If silence is being complicit then we need to shout from what we feel is gnawingly wrong at the pit of our stomach. Not just today but the future ahead.
Above: Dozie Kanu titled Play Structure
Note: Title image depicts Jamilah Sabur's Actual Infinity - on view at the Miami Design District's Palm Court (second floor).