Co-curated by Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green The Black Woman is God: Divine Revolution is a group visual art exhibition with free admission celebrating the Black female presence as the highest spiritual form. More than 60 intergenerational artists working in sculpture, painting, new media, and photography create new myths to challenge Eurocentric notions of God.
Co-curators Seneferu and Green envision The Black Woman is God not only as an exhibition, but as a movement-building platform that explores the intersections of race and gender, dismantling racist and patriarchal notions that devalue Black women’s contributions to society. Now in its second iteration at SOMArts, The Black Woman is God: Divine Revolution reveals Black women’s divinity and resilience despite intergenerational trauma and suppressed creativity.
Activated by live performances and a community cyper at the opening reception, The Black Woman is God asserts that subverting our notions of God is a spiritual and revolutionary act. As a statement by participating artists explains, “This exhibition is about Black women taking back their time, their rest, their dreams, and their creativity as a divine critical act, revealing how prayer and the convergences of women’s lives become transcendent through love.”
Opening with a public reception on Thursday, July 20, 6–10pm, The Black Woman is God will be activated by a performance procession of 100 Black women paying tribute to Black people who have worked tirelessly to heal the community through art, culture, and spirituality. The procession titled Opening the Way will include Black elders, youth, and girls who will walk from SOMArts’ parking lot to the gallery to honor their ancestors in an African libation before the performances begin.
The opening reception will also include performances by jazz musician Destiny Muhammad among many other legendary Bay Area performers.
Exhibiting artist Marissa Arterberry’s series of paintings titled The Funktresses is inspired by the aesthetics and soul of funk musicians — highlighting Black women’s influence on the musical genre.
A musician herself, Zakiya Harris’s video for the song Abracadabrakafrika reveals the community-building power of asserting the divinity of Black women.
Yasmin Sayyed’s painting Breath of Divinity connects to healing through an embrace of cosmologies of the African diaspora — reaching across generations to access ancestral traditions that have been erased by racist and colonial histories.
Fan Lee Warren’s multimedia painting also reaches through history, depicting archetypes of Black women artists, healers, and leaders to reveal the forgotten and erased histories of Black female divinity.
On Friday, August 25 & Saturday, August 26, from 8:00pm-midnight, Night Light: Multimedia & Performance Festival blankets SOMArts in luminous art installations, including audiovisual performances and performative interventions by over 25 artists, and digital and cinematic projections by over 20 artists. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, or $20 for guaranteed entry to both nights of the festival. Advance tickets are available online now at: http://nightlightparty2017.eventbrite.com.
Now in its seventh year, Night Light utilizes SOMArts’ entire post-industrial space and grounds, including the garden path, street-side loading bay, theater, Bay Gallery and Main Gallery.
This year Night Light responds to the themes of The Black Woman is God by presenting visual art installations and performances by artists of many gender identities and cultural backgrounds that reclaims the African cultural narrative of God being a Black woman.
THE BLACK WOMAN IS GOD
Anna W. Edwards
April Martin Chartrand
April Luvly Martin
Djenne Ba Dynna Batties
Fan Lee Warren
Kristina “Namastina” Williams
Nye’ Lyn Tho
Taiwo & Kehinde
Tania L. Balan-Gaubert
Vanessa Addison Williams
Worldly Sistah–Tracy Brown
July 20–August 26, 2017
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm & Saturday 12–5pm
The exhibition is free to visit during gallery hours and during the opening reception. SOMArts Cultural Center is located at 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th Streets), San Francisco, CA, 94103. SOMArts is wheelchair/ADA accessible. More information on accessibility is available here.
Thursday, July 20, 6pm–midnight
The opening night celebration kicks off with live music and participatory dance celebration in the Gallery. To learn more, visit www.somarts.org/theblackwomanisgodopening2017.
Saturday, July 22, 1–4pm
SOMArts, the California Digital Library and Art Practical present a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon in conjunction with The Black Woman is God to raise the online visibility of Black women artists and challenge the gaps in art history that erase or minimize Black women’s contributions as artists, activists and social change-makers. To learn more, visit www.somarts.org/theblackwomanisgodwikipedia.
Night Light: Multimedia & Performance Festival
Friday, August 25 & Saturday, August 26, 8:00pm–midnight
Luminous art installations, including audiovisual performances and performative interventions by over 25 artists, and digital and cinematic projections by over 20 artists. Tickets are $12 in advance online or $15 at the door, or $20 to attend both nights of the Festival. http://nightlightparty2017.eventbrite.com
The Black Woman is God and Night Light are made possible at SOMArts in part thanks to the generous support of The San Francisco Foundation.