Ten North Group Presents Exhibition Exploring the Genealogy of Genius

An exhibition curated by artist and scholar Anya Wallace

OPA-LOCKA – Ten North Group (previously Opa-locka Community Development Corporation) is pleased to present Genius Species, a group exhibition on Black feminist thought curated by artist-scholar Anya Wallace. Genius Species is on view at The Arts & Recreation Center (The ARC) in Opa-locka, FL from March 25 through May 31, 2023. There will be an opening reception on March 24.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Genius Species seeks to create a genus of Human genius and to celebrate the effects of the Black Woman’s planetary existence. Influenced by scholars such as Evelyn Hammonds, Toni Morrison and popular icons as Aretha Franklin and Nicki Minaj, Genius Species investigates the cultural, political, social, sexual currency that is Black Womanhood and Girlhood, and the ripple effects of its lived experience(s) across both time and space.

Ebony Y. Rhodes, El Jardin at Night, 2022. Oil pastel on paper and cardboard, 15in x 24in.
Courtesy of Ten North Group.

Wallace curates a restorative and playful art environment featuring the work of Christina Edwards, Grace Hampton, Ciara Newton, Briana Pizarro, Ebony Y. Rhodes, T. Thompson and Sarah Stefana Smith. The works in the exhibition span various mediums—painting, sculpture, drawing, weaving—and emphasize materials—rope, netting, feathers, wood, rubber—as tactics for expression and exploration into issues surrounding race, nationality, class, gender, orientation, religion and education.

Ciara Newton, Redbone Swag, 2016-2017. Fiberglass, Ceramic, Plastic, Wood, Stone, Feathers, Glass, and Metal, 120in x 48in x 36in.
Courtesy of Ten North Group.

Ciara Newton’s sculptural works—Redbone Swag and Yellowbone, Redbone, Blackbone—use material and craft to disrupt places of privilege in order to analyze our concepts of labor, capital and beauty. Grace Hampton represents her thoughts on past and present experiences, as well as views of the future in her work Phoenix Rising 1, utilizing the Phoenix as a symbol for rebirth, immortality, self-healing and the regenerative nature of the human spirit. Ebony Y. Rhodes’ works present her exploration into the complexity of conformity—how it shapes us and how rejection (or acceptance) is always primarily reflection.

Visual Artist Anya Wallace

Anya Wallace is a visual artist and scholar specializing in Black Girlhood and pleasure. Her curatorial practice is rooted in the process of merging “performance writing” and critical art writing, methods of experimental, intuitive writing that transforms the usually ephemeral process of cultivating ideas and concepts into a traceable format that exists in fluid conversation with visual art forms.

The curation for Genius Species arose through Wallace’s performance writing, taking the form of the abstract below. As alluded to in the title of the exhibition, Genius Species emphasizes the Black woman at the center of what it means to be whole and human.

Genius Species

“Black Woman, I called for a specific reason.”

Black Woman, individual, expression, are the given terms.

Otherworldly visitors and voyeurs need look no further in their quests to understand what makes us Human? thus he shall be directed to the visual experience(s) of Black Woman.

Asked then, how do you call yourself? And, why is it so?

Black W(holes)[1] make sense of all Our shadows, as without them there would be no romance[2]. Master Anchors are They in access and ability to be free.

How does she call herself? And, what value must a name weigh?

Black Woman as an iteration of Human is a process of becoming whole, a process of skill, endurance, meticulous craftsmanship, artistry—genius.

Genius. Genes. Genus Species. W(hole) Sapiens. Genius.

This list neither begins nor ends with Genius: Aretha[3].

Genius Species is a curatorial exploration of Black feminist thought, in practice–an invitation to fellowship in council. While issues of race, nationality, class, gender, orientation, religion, and education are litigated and circle the drain above our heads, the Artist, Black Woman in question, governs the Classroom, Our playground(s), the Welcome table, the Church house, and the tool shed.

[1] In reverence to Evelyn Hammonds (1994) “Black (W)holes and the Geometry of Female Sexuality”.

[2] In reverence to Toni Morrison’s (1992) theories of “romancing the shadow” (“Playing in the Dark”).

[3] In reference to National Geographic’s (2021) screenwork “Genius: Aretha”.

 

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