Archival Session – Exploring Presence: African American Artists in the Upper South

Friday, Nov 12, 2021
12pm EST/9am PST
Panel: 60 minutes

Fellowship Project + Marquee Contribution
Selected by 2021 Convening Partner Martina Dodd

Presenters: 2021 Convening Fellow Angela N. Carroll, Linda Day Clark, Schroeder Cherry, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Joyce J Scott

Black artists have proven themselves time and time again to be meta in all regards; seers, griots and archives for themselves and their respective communities. Conduits and catalysts of new understanding. Interceding doulas to yet recognized and oft misunderstood Black aesthetics. Exploring Presence: African American Artists in the Upper South identifies a succinct selection of prolific visionaries who create from and are informed by the liminal realms between northeastern art metropolises and the South.

Featured artists include Schroeder Cherry, Linda Day Clark, Oletha DeVane, Espi Frazier, Aziza Claudia Gibson Hunter, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Ed Love, Tom Miller, Joyce J Scott, and Paula Whaley. Though most were not born or bred in Washington, D.C. or Baltimore, MD, they each found, grounded, educated, and affirmed themselves in the belly of Black enclaves situated at the border of the Mason Dixon line in a region colloquially known as Up’South or the Upper South. The Upper South is tethered to the bible belt and marred – like most other Black enclaves across the country – by the redundant systemic violation of red lining, state sanctioned violence, displacement of long time Black residents, and the unwavering parasitism of white supremacy.

Curator Angela N. Carroll will be in conversation with several artists featured in this collection about the projects, interventions, activations, and constructions each engaged between 1970 and the contemporary moment. This era is marked by significant ruptures, renaming, reclamation and revision for BIPOC creatives in the country, across the diaspora, and in the Global South. The geospatial significance of this project is compounded by the sociopolitical tumult of the era which informs the subjects that each artist examines in this period and offers greater insight into some of the struggles each artist navigated to sustain their art practice. Selected artworks included in this collection also mark significant intervals of experimentation with process, material, and form for each artist.

Angela N. Carroll is an artist-archivist; an investigator of art history and culture. She is a curator and contributing writer for Saint Heron, Sugarcane Magazine, Black Art in America, BmoreArt, and others. She received her MFA in Digital Arts and New Media from the University of California at Santa Cruz and intermittently teaches within the Film and Moving Image program at Stevenson University and the FYE program at MICA in Baltimore, Maryland.