The month-long event series, which began last Thursday, was named “Sankofa: Go Back and Get It” by artist Ramona Candy. The notion behind “Sankofa” is the “best way forward is by stopping to reflect in order to be informed, empowered and inspired by foremothers and fathers and lessons of the past,” according to organizers.
The Black Artstory Artwalk, which will be on displayed until Wednesday, February 28, celebrates the contributions that African Americans are making in the art world. Ten Brooklyn-based visual artists will display their work along Myrtle Avenue and venues such as Brooklyn Navy Yard’s BLDG 92, Ingersoll Community Center, Leisure Life NYC and Five Spot Soul Food during regular business hours.
Themes of their work include altar, inheritance, transference, ritual, ancestors, tradition, lineage, sacred spaces, liberation, and power.
“It is of utmost importance that we know where we come from and what greatness we have brought, and continue to bring to the world. Our history is our pride,” Candy said. “No matter what that history might consist of, it is who we are.”
“‘Sankofa’ is an opportunity to go back and fetch that which makes us ‘us’ and brought us to where we stand today,” she further stated. “Honor our past, celebrate our history, teach each other, especially our youth, about those on whose shoulders we now stand.”
As part of Black Artstory Month programming, there are numerous free events taking place every Friday in February, including visual arts, poetry readings and storytelling.
On February 9 at 7 p.m., artist and community organizer Suhaly Bautista-Carolina will partner with Willow Brooks at Leisure Life NYC, 559 Myrtle Avenue, to present an evening of poetry. The event, “Literary Heroes,” will celebrate past literary heroes and bring their voices into the present. Poets such as Roberto Carlos Garcia, Randall Horton, Keisha Gaye Anderson and Sokunthary Svay will read the pieces that have inspired them as well as share their own pieces.
The following week, on February 16 at 7 pm, an exhibition of 20 collage sketches curated by Candy will depict individuals who made unique contributions and who have remarkable stories. The event, called “Our History, Our Pride: Hindsight is 20/20,” will take place at Locals on 322 Myrtle Avenue. Candy will be joined by actor, storyteller and playwright Daniel Carlton, who will accompany the pieces with original pieces and spoken word.
To round out the special events, “Currency I Currently See” on Friday, February 23 at 7 p.m. will feature live art and conversation. Visual artists, movers, residents and activists will get together and discuss how flow, value and exchange were rooted into the understanding that the current monetary system in the country was founded and resourced by the free labor of enslaved Africans. The event also sheds light on how these practices are continued today but, furthermore, how to create sustainable ways to develop and engage in the currency system.
To RSVP for any of the events, visit http://bit.ly/2Gwep1o.
“We are thrilled to present Black Artstory for a 6th year in a row,” said Meredith Phillips-Almeida, Executive Director of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership. “It’s truly an honor to present American History, and in many ways, World History, each year on Myrtle Avenue with special emphasis on the Arts, and which honors the rich traditions of African-Americans and people of the African Diaspora.”