Artist FeaturesShaquille-Aaron Keith, Sharon Alexie, Gala Prudent, and Chase Hall
in Conversation withSharon Alexie
I believe black utopia is waiting for us behind a thin veil of radical imagination. This utopia can be recognized in the bliss of thinking, in the genius of making, and in the beauty of our work when it is unattached from rhetorics of capitalism and ownership. To inhabit a black utopia is to be an artist; to create for one’s self personal philosophies of sight; to make room in the world for dictionaries of our own design.
I am in love with images for the ways they can enact invention, intervention and imagination, even though pictures present themselves to us as facts. Pictures create dialectics of truth —inside the photograph is the distinctly real, experienced moment; on the surface, there is the marked, named, framed, perceived, and abstracted — each of which tells us that the photograph is untrue. Pictures prove to us not what happened when they were taken, but instead the potential of spectral, multiple, and subjective truth and the inability of language, or image, to adequately hold the world.
In this photo-lithograph, I am interested in the performance of the image. The print is born from a photo found on the internet, but as a lithograph, it can become a photograph that masquerades as a drawing, or a drawing that masquerades as a photograph. Without the weight of named processes, this image is really just a series of dots. Anything it becomes beyond that is a consequence of our looking and subsequent naming. The dot can reshape themselves without end, dancing around tropes of patterned spheres — basketball, head, and topographic globe become one another for a moment. The printed image itself, made up of tiny half-tone marks, alludes to the simultaneously immaterial and overflowing nature of black iconography.
This overflow is where my black utopia lives: with the knowledge that black can be nothing, everything, anything, and beyond.