Almost done with this installation and I will get my life back until the end of April when I begin to prep for another installation. Clearly, I love installations. This installation is in a show at the Center for Book Arts and opens this Friday. It is a consideration of the proliferation of religious literature I have collected over the years and includes: a reinterpretation of the NYC subway map to plot the location of street preachers and religious distribution sites, a small library of religious tracts, a book of experimental scripture which is a recyclopedia/mash up of excerpts from those tracts, a mixtape of collected street demons and photographs of religious sites.
The ladies of MAMBU BADU — Black Weirdos of the Week!
Black Weirdo Of The Week 18: Mambu Badu
MAMBU BADU is composed of Allison McDaniel, Danielle Scruggs, Kameelah Rasheed, and Yodith Dammlash
MAMBU BADU was birthed on the internet through Twitter, but all of us—with the exception of Kameelah (based in BK)—can be found in the DC Metro Area.
MAMBU BADU is a collective of cultural producers and artists who curate art-based experiences that center the process and product of black self-identified women with a focus on photo-based work.
Founded in 2010 by Kameelah Rasheed, Allison McDaniel, and Danielle Scruggs, we curate biannual shows and publications in addition to independent projects. For 2014, we will be curating a show in Washington D.C.’s Vivid Solutions Gallery as well as organizing a series of public programming to bridge the gap between the gallery and the community. In the past, MAMBU BADU collective founders have curated art experiences in spaces such as the Median (Washington, D.C.) and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Harlem, NY).
We are especially keen on collaborations that encourage community engagement, inquiry, and artistic exploration. While MAMBU BADU began as a collective of photographers, our vision has evolved to create space to not only create art but to interrogate art practices. We want to explore the dialectical relationship between theory and practice as well as the space between contemplation and creation. We want to map the materialization of thoughts and histories.
When not working with MB,
Danielle works as a photo editor at LivingSocial, shoots her own personal projects, elbows her way to the front row at concerts at her favorite venues in DC (Black Cat, 9:30, Howard Theatre), listens to a lot of public radio, and drinks a lot of coffee. She is also a co-founder of DDAY Collective, created specifically to support and promote emerging artists of black/African descent in the DC Metropolitan area.
Kameelah works as a gallery studio instructor at the Brooklyn Museum. After five years of teaching in the public schools and a decade of working with youth, she is now a teacher coach guiding NYC public school teachers in strong curriculum development and instruction. When not working, she is a researcher exploring Black Atlantic spiritual traditions, a seeker of nature in NYC, a closeted fiction writer and an interviewer who has penned conversations with writers and artists like Kiese Laymon, Victor LaValle, Nnedi Okorafor and Dread Scott.
Yodith works on her own personal projects (mainly that exploring her Ethiopian ancestry and black womanhood), is stuck in the 1990s musically, is always on the hunt for a new photography book and never passes up bubble tea.
Allison works random day jobs, freelances as a graphic designer and photographer, prints entirely too many JSTOR articles, and is always on the hunt for a new bourbon.
What is your craft/career/creative expression?
We live in the space of photo-based art — from traditional fine art photography to mixed-medium to image appropriation.
How long have you been working at your craft?
MAMBU BADU will have its fourth birthday on September 20, 2014.
Danielle has been a photographer for most of her life, but didn’t take it seriously until around 2007, when she was 22 and a year out of her undergraduate studies.
Kameelah’s mother says she was asking a lot of questions, taking observation notes, and sketching since she could talk and hold a pen. Professionally? Five Years.
Yodith has been photographing since 2004 when she decided to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art Photography.
Allison took a darkroom course in 2001 and has been obsessed since.
Why do you consider yourself a Black Weirdo?
Danielle is a Black Weirdo because she has always resided in the margins of the margins. Always slightly offbeat and off-kilter and never quite in lockstep with what’s popular. Which she realizes is actually an ok thing.
Kameelah is a Black Weirdo because she approaches the world with the curiosity of a 7-year-old kid.
Yodith is a Black Weirdo because she always considered herself to be in two worlds, of two cultures, which sometimes leaves her on the outside of both. Raised in America by immigrant parents, she is as undeniably African-American as she is an Ethiopian in America.
Allison is a Black Weirdo because normality is the nemesis of creativity.
@mambubadu - twitter, tumblr, instagram, and FB
MambuBadu.com -main site
@dascruggs- twitter, instagram
daniellescruggs.com - portfolio site
blog.daniellescrugs.com -journal/inspiration repository
www.kameelahr.com - portfolio site
www.blog.kameelahr.com - blog
@yodithnprogress- twitter, instagram
@alice_wonder - twitter
@missalicewonder - instagram
alicewonder.tumblr.com - visual reference materials and folio work
Upcoming events/ projects?
May 9-June 27: Group exhibition of photo and lens-based art at Vivid Solutions Gallery at the Anacostia Arts Center, opening May 9
- March 15-May 2: Work from my series The District is currently on display at the National Institutes of Health West Alcove Gallery
April 2014: Officially launching The Vanguard, an audio-visual exploration of the creative processes and practices of visual, literary, and performing artists in the D.C. Metropolitan area
July 2014: Solo exhibit of photographic work as part of DDAY Collective’s quarterly solo showcases
March 1-May 10 — Arts Educator // Brooklyn Museum — Teaching youth digital media class in conjunction with the exhibition, Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties (NYC) through a fictional department of the US government called DISPUS (Department for Inquiry on Social Problems and their Urgent Solutions) where students photograph and interview Brooklyn residents regarding social problems.
April 5th: Group Exhibit // The Afrofuturist Affair: The Time Travel Convention at Yell Gallery (Philly) // installed a time travel machine using found material culture and published a hand bound book entitled “how to time travel with your mother’s hair, used tea bags and found photographs: a handbook and starter kit for practical time travel” (edition of 10)
April 12th: Panelist // NYU for the Radical Archiving Conference // speaking with other archivists about my first solo installation No Instructions for Assembly where I created a 30’ x 20’ x 20’ installation using fragments and found material culture to reimagine my family’s archive and to activate dialogues around a trinity of spatial trauma - homelessness, displacement, and forced migration.
April 18th: Group Exhibit // The Center for Book Arts - exploring themes born from transient religious encounters and found religious pamphlets over the past 7 years 1) debut of conceptual sound art project that features collected street sermons 2) a book of scripture prose that plays with intertextuality, William S. Boroughs’ aleatory cut-up literary methods, Jean Lescure of Oulipo’s N+7 procedure, and Harryette Mullen’s abecedarian games 3) a reinterpreted subway map and 4) a series of digital c-prints of religious sites (NYC)
June 13th: Artist Talk // Center for Book Arts (NYC)
May 17th: Panelist // Queens Museum for Open Engagement Conference, “Dropping In/Dropping Out of Communities” — discussing rituals and ethics around social practice art work in communities that may not be our own (NYC)
May/June: Group Exhibit // (Can’t share all the deets now but it will be a large installation that takes over an entire one bedroom apartment to explore ideas of democratized archiving, vestigial flickers and audience activation of spaces)
July 2014: Teaching Artist-in-Residence // Working Classroom, teaching 2 week class around using found materials to create installations and sculptural pieces that address migration, transition, and displacement (NM)
August 2014: Continuing work documenting black religious communities in the North East
Currently working on an archival project involving slides photographed by my uncle in in the 1960s during his world travels.
Co-curating this show with my ladies from MAMBU BADU in Washington. D.C.! Come thru!
MAMBU BADU presentsIf We Came From Nowhere Here,Why Can’t We Go Somewhere There?
They Are A Reflection Of You, Sienna Pinderhughes
If We Came From Nowhere Here, Why Can’t We Go Somewhere There? is a photography and video-based exhibit charting journeys into temporality, ﬂux, and Afrofuturism as explored by self-identified women of black/African descent.
A Non-Exhaustive Index of Possible Concepts/Explorations
Aberration of time and temporal jam ups, Abductions, Alienation, Alloplastic adaptations, Altered States, Apocalypse, Apparitions, Archive
Barcodes, Blackness./:/;/&/!/?, Bodies
Capitalism, Chopped & Screwed, Civilization, Colonialism, Color, Cosmology, Cyber
Desired histories, Dislocation, Dystopia
Echo, Era, Eschatology, Endtimes, Eulogy, Exodus
Failed histories, Fantasy, Fictional histories, First landings, Flight, Funk, Futures
Gender/Gendered/Gendering, Geography, Ghosts, Grotesque
Language, Levitation, Liftoff, Love
Machines, Magic, Masterplan, “Molecularization of Race”, Motherships, Mystic, Myth
Portals, Power, Plantations, Prophecy, Pyramid
Race, Rapture, Reincarnation, Rhythm, Ritual
Sacred, Sampling, Satellites, Sex, Shadows, Shapeshifting, Skat, Slaveships, Specters, Speculation, Space, Syncretism
Technologies, Temporality, Text, Time travel, Tombs
Selected artists are:
- Charmaine Bee
- Nakeya Brown
- Sonia Louise Davis
- Danny Deadwyler
- Bree Gant
- Naima Green
- Dhool Hassan
- Janna Ireland
- Kali-Ma Karefa-Smart
- Safi Koala
- Sienna Pinderhughes
Thank you to everyone who submitted to our call for work. We had a huge response and it was difficult to narrow it down to the dozen artists who will be featured.
Thank you all for your continued support and we hope you can join us in D.C. on May 9th!WHENOpening reception: Friday, May 9, 2014, 6pm-9pmExhibit will be on view through June 27, 2014
MAMBU BADU is a collective of cultural producers and artists who curate art-based experiences that center the process and product of black self-identified women with a focus on photo-based work. Founded in 2010, MAMBU BADU currently is Kameelah Rasheed, Allison McDaniel, Danielle Scruggs, and Yodith Dammlash.
We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.Anais Nin (via aseeyax)
American Flag, Witches and Engine Parts.
Prepping for my talk at NYU today as part of the Radical Archives Conference! 4:45-6:00pm at the Cantor Film Center, Theater 101.
I have been described by you, for hundreds of years. And now, I can describe you. That’s part of the panic.James Baldwin (via jessehimself)
Writing stories is one of the most assertive things a person can do. Fiction is an act of willfulness, a deliberate effort to reconceive, to rearrange, to reconstitute nothing short of reality itself.From Notes from a Literary Apprenticeship, by Jhumpa Lahiri in The New Yorker (via thegist)
Also, I have the flu or its cousin. Been running around like nothing is the matter but I actually cannot get out of the bed right now. Body said, “nah nah”.
Slavery made your mother into a myth, banished your father’s name, and exiled your siblings to the far corners of the earth. The slave was as an orphan, according to Frederick Douglass, even when he knew his kin. “We were brothers and sisters, but what of that? Why should they be attached to me, or I to them? Brothers and sisters we were by blood; but slavery had made us strangers. I heard the words brother and sisters, and knew they must mean something; but slavery had robbed these terms of their true meaning.” The only sure inheritance passed from one generation to the next was this loss, and it defined the tribe. A philosopher had once described it as an identity produced by negation.Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Across the Atlantic, p. 103 (via kadalkavithaigal)
Research Sundays. Looking at the relationship between new religious movements and Victor Frankenstein. I promise it makes a lot of sense in my head and maybe on paper.