Nyame Brown Large-scale Blackboard Painting What’s Your Black? in Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism at the Oakland Museum of California
Exhibition Opening Saturday, August 7, 2021
Nyame Brown will be featured in Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism at the Oakland Museum of California, opening August 7, 2021 and on view through February 27, 2022. The exhibition explores Afrofuturism as a strategy that imagines the world through a Black cultural lens and strives for a more just present and future. Curated by OMCA Curator Rhonda Pagnozzi and Consulting Curator Essence Harden, the exhibition celebrates Black imagination and includes the work of over 50 artists—including Wangechi Mutu, David Huffman, and Chelle Barbour, among others—historians, musicians, and collaborators. The show highlights the key role that the fantasy and science fiction of Afrofuturism has, as a strategy for Black community building by envisioning the African Diaspora and Black culture as central in a technically advanced and culturally rich civilization.
Brown—an Afrofuturist installation artist working in the media of painting, drawing, cut paper, blackboards, augmented reality, gaming, and fashion—addresses the Black imagination as a site for new ways to perceive the Diaspora as trans-Atlantic, psychic, and imagined—not just through unity and similarity, but by looking at the dynamics of difference. What’s Your Black?, part of his larger series of blackboard paintings, is envisioned as a tool to combat racial oppression, using a cultural production of the Black community to offer a space to create a new Black mythology. Building narratives like scaffolding around art historical references, hip hop, and personal history, he draws on these precedents as a fluid source of reference, rather than a fixed and linear projection. Reimagining contemporary notions of Blackness in visual culture, he challenges traditional representation and subverts it for a richer surreal language found in folklore and African American hyperbole. His depictions provide different ways to access African American culture through an approach that seeks social transformation and community revolution.
About Nyame Brown
Nyame Oulynji Brown received his BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and MFA from Yale School of Art and Architecture. He has been the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award, and the Richard Dreihaus Foundation Individual Artist Award, as well as a site-specific public commission for the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, for which he executed a double portrait of Malcolm X and the artist Jack Whitten. His participation in Theaster Gates’ Black Artist Retreat in Chicago was followed by residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts (for work on his project The Mapping of Aaron, a model for radical Blackness), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. Brown was honored with a solo exhibition at The Museum of the African Diaspora, and has held solo exhibitions across the U.S., notably at the Hearst Museum at St. Mary’s College (John Henry’s adventures in a Post Black world) and the West Virginia University Art Museum. He has actively participated in group exhibitions in a variety of spaces in California, Illinois, Michigan and New York, and his work has been curated for inclusion at the Museum of Harlem, NY, and the Prizm Art Fair at the Mana Contemporary in Miami. He also took part with Carrie Mae Weems in the symposium The Interrogation of Forms: The Changing Culture in America at The Armory in New York. Brown was selected as the 2020 Tosa Studio Award recipient and was awarded a studio at Minnesota Street Project through 2021.