"Summertime" features socially informed works by internationally renowned contemporary artists working in a variety of disciplines including painting, photography, sculpture, film, neon installation, and mixed media. Through their artwork they explore the intersection of personal experience and political impact, drawing attention to the diverse experiences of people as they locate themselves within the structures of society. Participating artists are Mohau Modisakeng, Gordon Parks, Lalla Essaydi, Lisette Solorzano, Ben Aronson, Hendrik Kerstens, Scott Fraser, Aubrey Williams, Tim Etchells, Ebony G. Patterson, Damali Abrams, Sam Vernon, Johnathan Payne and Nnenna Okore.
Reflecting a desire for the unification of the peoples of post-colonial South Africa, 57th Venice Biennale participant representing South Africa, Mohau Modisakeng's, To Move Mountains, elaborates on the socio-economic struggles of working class people and historical process through symbolic confrontation, replacing war with art. The film references the 2012 Marikana Massacre, initiated by the South African police against unionized coal miners striking for a wage increase. With a speculated total of 47 workers killed, the massacre is the most lethal use of state violence by South African police against civilians since 1960. The incident garnered international attention when investigators revealed that the deceased were shot in the back in an attempt to retreat.
The photo essays of Gordon Parks are influencing the next generation of filmmakers as demonstrated by Kendrick Lamar's reference to the photographer's work in his latest music video, "ELEMENT". Summertime includes three of those works.
Damali Abrams' work is a fusion of mermaid mythology, pop-culture, and self-help in her playful collages analyzing black desire and aspirations in the face of socio-economic realities. Ben Aronson's latest paintings of Chicago feature prominently among his celebrated paintings of American cityscapes.
Presented by Jenkins Johnson Gallery