Taking inspiration from Mia’s recent acquisition of Frank Bowling’s map painting False Start (1970), “Mapping Black Identities” challenges the notion of Black identity as monolithic. Championing the diverse experiences of artists from America, Africa, and the diaspora, this exhibition seeks to amplify underrepresented voices and create connections around the concept of Blackness in contemporary art across time and place.
Mapping is a colonial practice tied to painful histories of conquest and domination. Here, mapping functions as a powerful way to reclaim spaces—such as the museum—that have traditionally excluded or overlooked work by Black artists.
“Mapping Black Identities” is co-curated by Mia’s Contemporary Art Department, including Esther Callahan, Curatorial Affairs Fellow; Gabriel Ritter, Curator and Department Head; Nicole Soukup, Assistant Curator; and Keisha Williams, Curatorial Department Assistant and Artist Liaison, in collaboration with Mia’s Curatorial Advisory Committee. This Committee is composed of Mia staff who champion the prerogatives of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility by advising on Mia’s curation, labeling, and programming practices.