African Diaspora Exhibits in Brooklyn

Pearl necklace (Photo by Doreen Garner via BKLYNER)

A story in BKLYNER by Chris Farrell takes a look at three exhibits on display at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, each of them following the Fort Greene museum’s mission to “incite dialogue on pressing social and political issues facing the African Diaspora.”

In the “Surrogate Skin” exhibit, sculptures by Doreen Garner “recalls the medical exploitation of black women’s bodies, using silicon, pearls, hair weave and surgical instruments in grotesque arrangements that suggest human organs.” One of the pieces deals with J. Marion Sims, “the father of modern gynecology.”

The 19th-century physician purchased slaves to use as the subjects of his medical research. Three of them named in his records, Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy, were operated on multiple times, including 30 separate surgeries on Anarcha alone. The operations were performed without anesthesia, as Sims believed slaves were able to bear great pain due to their race.

“Surrogate Skin” also features the work of Keisha Scarville.

Meanwhile, photographer Glenna Gordon’s “Diagram of the Heart” captures Nigerian “books of love (littattafan soyayya) which are a kind of romance novel put together by Muslim women.” The third exhibition, by Theresa Chromati “begins with the recognition of the enjoyment of tea drinking as the passive residue of colonization.”

Read more on the “Tea Time” exhibition, as well as the other two shows, at BKLYNER. The exhibitions run through March 12.

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