MAGIC, MIRTH, AND MORTALITY: Musings On Black Motherhood
Joy. Fear. Guilt. Generational connection. Grief. Deep love. These are only a few of the complex emotions experienced by all mothers. Magic, Mirth, and Mortality: Musings on Black Motherhood is an exhibition inspired by the lived experiences of writer, curator, community builder, wife, and mother Shawana Brooks. Centered in the exhibition are her ‘motherhood musings’ written and shared during her pregnancy, the premature birth of her son Roosevelt, and an extended stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The vulnerability, honesty, and courage expressed in this collection of writings allowed hundreds, if not thousands, of people, to witness…in real time…the experiences of Shawana, her husband Roosevelt Watson III, and their son.
Brooks’ words are shown alongside visual art by Tatiana Kitchen, Marsha Hatcher, and Cheryl McCain. Their paintings, drawings, and prints express the courage, delight, vulnerability, and fierce determination that mark their experiences as mothers and views of the universality of this role.
The personal views expressed in the art become socially potent in light of the unique inequities and challenges faced by Black women from maternity to watching their children become adults. Statistics on mortality rates, inequity,, racism against Black women will add to the narratives of these four women and the women who came before them. This combination of memoir, visual art, and data is intended to create a space for healing, awareness building, sharing, and collective action. These intentions will be supported through a series of programs and experiences including spoken word events, artist talks, performances, and intimate conversations that will open opportunities for people to be seen and see one another.
We are unapologetically lifting up the experiences of Black women. We do so not to exclude others, but because this is we are compelled to shine the brightest light. Yet, there are universal truths offered up at every turn. Whether you are a mother yourself or someone who knows about mothering, a grandparent, a father, or a caregiver the words and images presented here will likely resonate. And we are all someone’s child….a child who entered this world carrying a history and set of realities as unique as we are.
Yellow House aims to create a gracious and brave space not only for the artists, but also for you. There is an opportunity within the space for you to do a bit of your own musing. While we invite you to breathe in the works of Shawana, Tatiana, Marsha, and Cheryl, we also honor your journey in all its complexity.