Black as Light | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Words are magic. It never ceases to amaze me that little black lines, bent into letters, and organized on a page can transport us - through time, in and out of felt experience and into other peoples shoes.
I am striving to harness some of that energy in “Black as Light”. The racial scars in this country are deep and long. And our path to a more just society is complicated. But that begins when a person looks across the divide and can recognize the humanity of someone on the other side.
In “Black as Light” I am asking people to stop and consider another point of light in the constellation of black perspective as captured by Porsha Olayiwola, Boston’s poet laureate. But instead of framing her poetry with the printed page, we wanted to see what would happen if we transform black lines into light and read it together, as a community. How does it change the reader’s experience when words about race are embraced and emblazoned on the walls of prestigious institution like the Boston’s Museum of Fine Art?
The piece was commissioned by JArts for the 2020 Hanukah season. And to dive deeper into the 2020 theme of “Brighter Connected” we chose to make Porsha’s words flicker as if they’re being illuminated by menorah light. And they are. The dynamic light and color used in the font is from video of a candle, flickering in the dark. When Orthodox Jews pray they often rock back and forth. It is called davening. And it is said that in doing so they are an embodiment of flame. I love that image.
This is my flickery little prayer in the darkness, and belief that we are indeed, Brighter Connected.