“I believe that we are in an imagination battle, and almost everything about how we orient toward our bodies is shaped by fearful imaginations. Imaginations that fear Blackness, brownness, fatness, queerness, disability, and difference. Our radical imagination is a tool for decolonization, for reclaiming our right to shape our lived reality.”
― Adrienne Maree Brown, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good
Divine Gratitude Portrait Movement
Divine Gratitude Portrait Movement is a short film and painting series designed to give thanks and bring visibility to Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) whose lives demonstrate a commitment to authenticity and forward movement. Individuals within this series utilize their unique gifts to disrupt the cycles of fear and division in their communities and pave the way for joyous and equitable futures.
Through painted portraiture, Divine Gratitude seeks to transform the way the world sees one another and ourselves. Minimizing the gaps between cultures by gifting worldwide creatives, activists, educators, and healers the opportunity to formulate their own images and stories.
Representation shapes the world and has been a tool of oppression for too long. The artist Liz Gómez flips the historically exploitative, divisive, and dangerous legacy of BIPOC MISrepresentation by asking each person how they would like to be captured on canvas. Below you can explore each being's co-imagined portrait and information about their many givings.
Portrait of Rootworker Tracie D. Hall
Oil and cowrie shells on canvas
42 x 50 in
Divine Gratitude Ep.1 Celebrating Tracie D. Hall
Director: Liz Gómez
Videographer and Editor: Hayward Suggs
Amaia Gabantxo is a writer, a flamenco singer and literary translator specialized in Basque literature. She is the most prolific translator of Basque literature to date, as well as a pioneer in the field, and has received multiple awards for her work; among them, a Wingate Scholarship, the OMI Writers Translation Lab award, a Mellon Fellowship for Arts and Scholarship, and an artist-in-residence award at the Cervantes Institute in Chicago. She has published and performed on both sides of the Atlantic: in Ireland and Great Britain, the countries in which she carried out her university education, and in the US, where she lived until 2020. She now splits her time between the US and the Basque Country, where she spends a lot of time freediving and recording the sounds of the Kantauri sea.
Learn more about Amaia here: https://www.amaiagabantxo.com/
Rashayla Marie Brown
Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB) is an "undisciplinary" artist-scholar exploring how aesthetics can enact radical thought beyond mere representation. Creating visually poetic and emotionally engaging artworks with a deeply critical eye towards knowledge, medium and audience, RMB's work blends installation design, photography, performance, writing, video and filmmaking with the implementation and critique of power structures. These works have been presented at galleries internationally including INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, New York; Krabbesholm Højskole, Copenhagen; La Becque, La-Tour-de-Peilz; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; Rhodes College, Memphis; Tate Modern, London; and Turbine Hall, Johannesburg.
Experience more of Rashayla Marie Brown here: https://www.rmbstudios.com/
Alexandria Eregbu is an artist and scholar whose hybrid practice spans across art, education, curatorial practice, justice, and the humanities to consider objects, stories, and experiences that dignify Black life.
Her artwork employs a combination of symbols, storytelling, and ritual performance to make real the continuum of everyday practice in African-American existence. Often Alexandria utilizes materials like chalk, indigo, cowrie shells, wood, and feathers amongst processes like natural dye, drawing and quilting to make meaning with the unseen. She creates textiles, paintings, sculpture, installation, performance, sound, and other time-based media as a bridge to nature, design, healing, and ecology.
As a scholar, Alexandria references Afrosurrealist discourse, poetry, familial archives, oral narratives, and craft tradititons to both interpret and call into question omissions of Black femme-centered histories and curricula in the United States. Currently, Alexandria serves as a current lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the department of Fiber & Material Studies and was recently appointed as Assistant Director of Education for Alt_ Chicago.
Learn more about the wonderful Alexandria Eregbu here.