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Ten North Group Unveils “Required Reading,” a Banned Book Public Art Installation in Opa-Locka

On Saturday December 2nd, 2023, Ten North Group, formerly the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation, launched its annual Art of Transformation with the unveiling of Required Reading, a captivating, banned books activation showcasing book covers by Black writers. In the midst of debates, litigation, and legislation surrounding writings by Black individuals, Required Reading delves into the relationships among visual and literary arts in the Black experience. Required Reading will be showcased with vinyl canvas banners featuring book covers by Black writers which include QR codes to access banned books.

Black Literature has had many challenges, with renewed assaults on its productions. As knowledge produced by African and African Diaspora intellectuals and artists is being debated, legislated, and litigated---reminding us of the dark Nazi period of banning and burning books---Required Reading calls for a return to memory lane where what is banned becomes required. This exhibition presents a plurality of works by African and African Diaspora writers and artists as a reflection of polyvocality and decentering of knowledge in a time of a legislative construction of ignorance and new cartographies of power and exclusion.

“The Required Reading installation is not simply about celebrating literature, but also a collective challenge to the censorship and silencing of stories that ought to be shared. I am proud to join community leaders from across Miami-Dade County as we highlight the importance of intellectual freedom and contributions from those who have been marginalized for far too long. Together, we stand united against the erasure of the diverse voices and perspectives that make our communities that much stronger", stated Florida Senator Shevrin Jones.

Required Reading is one of the five installations on view during the AOT’s, AFRICA GLOBAL, an 8 day, 2 block art event held during Miami Art Week 2023 and designed to illuminate African Diasporic communities' history and varied experiences. Through exhibitions, panel discussions, performances, walking tours and film projections, AOT explores contemporary issues in African and African Diaspora art by curating cultural exchange, encouraging artistic dialogue, celebrating diversity and fostering understanding the for richness of Black culture.

Dr. Willie Logan, CEO, Ten North Group stated “Ten North Group Arts Foundation is thrilled to extend an invitation to all parents and families in South Florida to participate in Required Reading during the 2023 Art of Transformation, happening in conjunction with Miami Art Week. The installation will create landscapes of Black literature at the heart of our historic African American neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County. Our focus is to nurture the literary passions of the next generation through engaging discussions and public readings in the lush Garden of Humanity”.

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By ML Staff. Images courtesy of The Tenth Group


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