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The sixth edition of PRIZM opened today at the Alfred I. DuPont Building in Downtown Miami. On view through Sunday, December 9, the fair is dedicated to presenting contemporary art from the African Diaspora. Works by over 63 artists from 15 countries are on view from galleries like Alaina Simone Inc, Tafeta + Partners, Emerson Dorsch, Morton Fine Art, N’Namdi Contemporary (Miami), N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art (Detroit), September Gray, and TILA Studio.
In advance of the opening, Whitewall spoke with founding director Mikhaile Solomon, to learn more about what to expect this year.
WHITEWALL: How has the fair evolved since its first year?
MIKHAILE SOLOMON: Prizm grows exponentially every year. In 2017 we exhibited 120 artists in Downtown, Miami. This year we have a new home at the Alfred I. DuPont Building, a beautiful preserved Art Deco relic of Miami’s past and are looking forward to exhibiting 63 artists in addition to eight galleries from Miami to London.
Additionally, our special sections, which include Prizm Film, Prizm Perform, and Prizm Preview, continues to evolve increased thought-provoking dialogue thanks to our evolving partnerships. We’re happy to be partnering with the Africa Center in New York and Barbados Tourism and Marketing to open up Miami Art Week with our Prizm Preview Dinner on December 3. Uzodinma Iweala, CEO of the Africa Center and author of Beasts of No Nation will deliver our keynote followed by a talk with visual artist, Victor Ekpuk.
WW: You’ve curated, along with artist William Cordova, two exhibitions for the fair: “The Dark Horse” and “Transceivers: channels, outlets and forces.” Can you tell us about the focus of those exhibitions?
MS: “The Dark Horse” explores and exhibits ways in which the disenfranchised negotiate, re-appropriate and reclaim the currencies used against them to build a future that is inclusive of prosperity for all.
Artists, Anina Major and LaMont Hamilton, for example, re-appropriate American and discontinued pound sterling banknotes to illustrate the power dynamics and imbalance in global economics in favor of colonial supremacy at the expense of economic growth and quality of life in colonized regions.
“The Dark Horse” is essentially the unsung heroes amongst us, who despite their subjectivity in colonized spaces, gracefully rise to prominence through sheer will to thrive and in pursuit of happiness. As sociopolitical dynamics in the United States shifts with the nomination of several African American and underrepresented candidates, the United States landscape in the next four to six years, with diverse leadership can truly be a model for how sovereignties around the globe can support their increasingly heterogeneous populations; with compassion, respect and dignity.
“Transceivers: channels, outlets and forces” curated by William Cordova, focuses on the intersections between futurism, ritual and the folkloric. Three intersecting themes that are fluid and constantly transmitting, receiving, informing and forming our contemporary space.
Each artist will have a site-specific installation that responds to the tenor of the times. They are like a two-way radio, our social transceivers, architects designing alternative forms of achieving a “collective catharsis.”
WW: Why is it important for you to include curated exhibitions alongside gallery presentations at PRIZM?
MS: In addition to exhibiting visual artists, Prizm also endeavors to include established and rising voices in curatorial practice: particularly curatorial voices from Africa, and the African Diaspora.
WW: Who are some of the Miami-based artists who will be participating in PRIZM this year?
MS: Miami artists will include: Morel Doucet, Onajide Shabaka, T. Eliott Mansa, Jared McGriff, Charo Oquet, Purvis Young, and Yanira Collado.
WW: On Friday, December 7, PRIZM Perform will take place. What can we expect from the performances that will take place? Which artists will be participating?
MS: We’re looking forward to a performance by Patrisse Marie Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and founder of Dignity and Power Now.