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Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi

We Buy Gold’s “FIVE.” Addresses the Function of Art in Crisis

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Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels’s platform We Buy Gold has launched a virtual exhibition entitled “FIVE.” Curated by artist Nina Chanel Abney, the show was conceived from a dialogue concerning the isolation of stay-at-home-orders and the current state of the world.

Organized into five feelings that have been experienced by many during the Coronavirus pandemic—anxiety, stillness, isolation, escapism, and fear—the digital show features video work by artists Nick Cave, Ilana Harris-Babou, Solange Knowles, Kalup Linzy, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Azikiwe Mohammed, Christie Neptune, Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, Sondra Perry, Elliot Reed, and Jacolby Satterwhite.

Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi

Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, “Suspension (feat. Nonku Phiri and Dion Monti),” (Sierra Brooks, Daisha Cannon, Luci Collins, Olivia Courtney, Naveen Daries, Dominique Dawes, Nia Dennis, Makarri Doggette, Daiane dos Santos, Gabby Douglas, Dianne Durham, Yesenia Ferrera, Annia Hatch, Ashleigh Heldsinger, Laurie Hernandez, Kiya Johnson, Dipa Karmakar, Jennifer Khwela, Rankoe Mammule, Sibongile Mjekula, Betty Okino, Elizabeth Price, Caitlin Rooskrantz, Tasha Schwikert, Jamison Sears, Stella Umeh, Gabby Wilson, Corrine Wright), 2020, digital video with sound, duration: 6:45 minutes; courtesy of the artist and We Buy Gold.

“Exposing the fault lines of already fragmented nation states, COVID-19, for people of African descent, deepens political and economic fissures as we are confined to our homes and communicate personally, professionally, and politically through the screen,” said Bellorado-Samuels.

“FIVE.” encourages viewers to consider the place of art during a time of unrest, reminding us that artwork can assist us in both a higher understanding and reimagining our own reality. Asking questions like, “How do we simultaneously celebrate Black life and consecrate Black death?” and “What is the function of the work of art in crisis?” the exhibition offers a deeply thoughtful narrative and captivating experience—a noteworthy feat in a time when art in so many places is only accessible through a screen.

Azikiwe Mohammed

Azikiwe Mohammed, “Second Round,” 2020, digital video, duration: 10:20 minutes; courtesy of the artist and We Buy Gold.

Featured in “FIVE.” are pieces like McClodden’s haunting Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic, Movement I – The Visions, Trailer III-Steal Away; 43 minutes of entrancing movement by an amorphous figure in Cave’s Blot; and Nkosi’s film centered around Black Olympic gymnasts, Suspension (feat. Nonku Phiri and Dion Monti).

Before entering the exhibition, We Buy Gold is also encouraging visitors to contribute to Project Eats—a program working to build high-yield urban production farms in New York City to feed back into the local economy—highlighting the disproportionate effects of the global pandemic on communities of color.

Tiona Nekkia McClodden

Tiona Nekkia McClodden, “Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic, Movement I – The Visions, Trailer III-Steal Away,” 2014, Single-channel video, color, sound, HD 1920 x 1080; duration: 1:28 minutes; courtesy of the artist and We Buy Gold.

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Kelly Wearstler

THE WINTER EXPERIENCE ISSUE
2023

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Inviting the audience to feel, touch, and experience art in its most dynamic state is “When Forms Come Alive” at Hayward Gallery.
Johanna Tordjman's online exhibition "25h01" is a series of portraits capturing refugees, picturing them with an object or item they brought with them from their homeland.

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