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Art as Activism: Esmaa Mohamoud

Exploring the voices of Black artists with art curator, historian and educator Antoine J. Girard.


So much conversation can exist in the art world over success, what defines it and the shortcuts one can take. We’ve moved away from the seductive fifteen minutes of fame art prophet Andy Warhol promised us, to the compressed fifteen seconds our Instagram Stories hold. While so many of the voyeuristic omens Warhol preached about authenticity and the speeding up of culture proved to be accurate, no one could predict the global halt we’ve all experienced. A shift so strong that the spaces in the art world, galleries and museums who have historically prided themselves on their ability to hold expensive expressions of humanity, were also left wondering where to turn.

I wanted to reach out to four artists that challenge and cultivate new positions of connectivity, that lead the way—artists not afraid to create community in what’s missing. The voices of the artist originate from vastly different places: Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe of Ghana, Esmaa Mohamoud of Canada, Murjoni Merriweather of Maryland and from my home state of Texas, Riley Holloway. They represent the moment.

In my experience as a curator, the voices of artists of color can work in chorus, expressing shared human truth and hardships, but the true intellect is mastered only when listening closely for their individual differences and high pitches and wildest dreams for us. It is more widely known than ever that Art, especially that made from creative minds of people from African descent are not monolithic. No two walks of life are the same.

The task was simple: open up a dialogue where the artist can comment on how they are maneuvering professional creative careers ahead in the frightening uncertain reality of our “new normal.”

— Antoine J. Girard.

"Deeper The Wounded, Deeper The Roots" and "Untitled (No Fields)"   Courtesy of Georgia Scherman Projects
"Chain Gang", "Glorious Bones" and "Heavy, Heavy (Hoop Dreams)"   Courtesy of Georgia Scherman Projects
"Untitled (No Fields)"   Courtesy of Georgia Scherman Projects
"One Of The Boys"   Courtesy of Georgia Scherman Projects
"Heavy, Heavy (Hoop Dreams)" and "Glorious Bones"   Courtesy of Georgia Scherman Projects