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Ten North Group Presents Exhibition Exploring the Genealogy of Genius

Ten North Group (previously Opa-locka Community Development Corporation) is pleased to present Genius Species, a group exhibition on Black feminist thought curated by artist-scholar Anya Wallace. Genius Species is on view at The Arts & Recreation Center (The ARC) in Opa-locka, FL from March 25 through May 31, 2023. There will be an opening reception on March 24.

Ciara Newton, Redbone Swag, 2016-2017. Fiberglass, Ceramic, Plastic, Wood, Stone, Feathers, Glass, and Metal, 120in x 48in x 36in. Courtesy of Ten North Group.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Genius Species seeks to create a genus of Human genius and to celebrate the effects of the Black Woman’s planetary existence. Influenced by scholars such as Evelyn Hammonds, Toni Morrison and popular icons as Aretha Franklin and Nicki Minaj, Genius Species investigates the cultural, political, social, sexual currency that is Black Womanhood and Girlhood, and the ripple effects of its lived experience(s) across both time and space.

Grace Hampton, Phoenix Rising 1, 2000. Graphite, charcoal, and conte crayon on paper, 47in x 35in. Courtesy of Ten North Group.

Wallace curates a restorative and playful art environment featuring the work of Christina Edwards, Grace Hampton, Ciara Newton, Briana Pizarro, Ebony Y. Rhodes, T. Thompson and Sarah Stefana Smith. The works in the exhibition span various mediums—painting, sculpture, drawing, weaving—and emphasize materials—rope, netting, feathers, wood, rubber—as tactics for expression and exploration into issues surrounding race, nationality, class, gender, orientation, religion and education.

Christina Edwards, Red Tide, 2020. acrylic on plexi, 11.5 x 12 in. Courtesy of Ten North Group.

Ciara Newton’s sculptural works—Redbone Swag and Yellowbone, Redbone, Blackbone—use material and craft to disrupt places of privilege in order to analyze our concepts of labor, capital and beauty. Grace Hampton represents her thoughts on past and present experiences, as well as views of the future in her work Phoenix Rising 1, utilizing the Phoenix as a symbol for rebirth, immortality, self-healing and the regenerative nature of the human spirit. Ebony Y. Rhodes’ works present her exploration into the complexity of conformity—how it shapes us and how rejection (or acceptance) is always primarily reflection.

T. Thompson, Is There Someone in the Chair?, 2016. Diptych, film photography, 28in x 19 in. Courtesy of Ten North Group.

Anya Wallace is a visual artist and scholar specializing in Black Girlhood and pleasure. Her curatorial practice is rooted in the process of merging “performance writing” and critical art writing, methods of experimental, intuitive writing that transforms the usually ephemeral process of cultivating ideas and concepts into a traceable format that exists in fluid conversation with visual art forms. The curation for Genius Species arose through Wallace’s performance writing, taking the form of the abstract below. As alluded to in the title of the exhibition, Genius Species emphasizes the Black woman at the center of what it means to be whole and human.

Genius Species

“Black Woman, I called for a specific reason.”

Black Woman, individual, expression, are the given terms.

Otherworldly visitors and voyeurs need look no further in their quests to understand what makes us Human? thus he shall be directed to the visual experience(s) of Black Woman.

Asked then, how do you call yourself? And, why is it so?

Black W(holes) make sense of all Our shadows, as without them there would be no romance. Master Anchors are They in access and ability to be free.

How does she call herself? And, what value must a name weigh?

Black Woman as an iteration of Human is a process of becoming whole, a process of skill, endurance, meticulous craftsmanship, artistry—genius.

Genius. Genes. Genus Species. W(hole) Sapiens. Genius.

This list neither begins nor ends with Genius: Aretha.

Genius Species is a curatorial exploration of Black feminist thought, in practice–an invitation to fellowship in council. While issues of race, nationality, class, gender, orientation, religion, and education are litigated and circle the drain above our heads, the Artist, Black Woman in question, governs the Classroom, Our playground(s), the Welcome table, the Church house, and the tool shed.

More on Ten North Group

Ten North Group (formerly Opa-locka Community Development Center) is a forty-year-old affordable housing developer and community builder. Ten North is determined to build wealth in under-resourced communities through creative placemaking—the act of using the arts and culture to write the future stories of previously overlooked places. To that end, Ten North actively commissions works of public art, is in the process of offering residency programs in the United States and Africa and is the steward of an important collection of African and African Diaspora modern and contemporary art with over 100 works.

Ten North has built over 2,500 units of affordable housing. Its current real estate portfolio consists of historic properties, commercial parcels, and over 1,200 affordable housing units. In addition, Ten North’s social, educational, and financial programs have served close to 4,000 youths, 6,250 children and families, and close to 2,500 first-time home buyers, and its CDFI has provided loans and technical assistance to over 1,500 small business owners and entrepreneurs.

More on Anya Wallace

Anya Wallace is a visual artist, scholar, and community educator. Her artwork and scholarship are shaped by a desire to narrate the lessons and pleasures existent in Black Girlhood. Born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she learned artistic practice and listening by way of her Mother, Father, Grandparents, and Big-family antics. She is the Daughter of Ceramicists, Architects, Contractors, Designers, and Cooks. She cites an upbringing in the Tropics, amidst the orange groves, mangroves, avocado groves, and more through gifts she deems as photographic taste, rhythm, dance, and prose.

Wallace holds a doctorate in Art Education and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Penn State University. And studied photographic critical theory and craft at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She is currently the Florence Levy Kay Postdoctoral Fellow in Black Feminist Studies at Brandeis University. Her artwork, curated installations, and education research have been exhibited at MOCA NoMI (Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL), Space Mountain Gallery (Miami, FL), the Borland Project Space (University Park, PA), the Robeson Gallery (University Park, PA), the Art Alliance (State College, PA), the Palmer Museum of Art (University Park, PA), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC).

By ML Staff. Images courtesy of Ten North Group


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