Through the lenses of art, architecture, photography, and poetry, the exhibition pays tribute to ancestors both African and American and explore the concepts of identity and belonging.
As Black communities become increasingly disparate, disconnected, and marginalized, it is important to be reminded of traditions that have brought people together for centuries. Whether it be a backyard cookout, a Sunday morning church service, or a gathering under a tree to listen to the latest stories, connection has always been at the center of the Black community. It is within that context that a group of Black artists, poet and designers came together to examine life in Sistrunk, a historical Black neighborhood.
Exhibition participants, Germane Barnes, Darius V. Daughtry, David I. Muir, Adler Guerrier, Olalekan Jeyifous, Adrienne Chadwick, Marlene Brunot, and George Gadson, were encouraged by the curator, Dominique Denis, to examine the significance of gathering places in Black communities. Through works of art and design conceived or reimagined for this show, they present a tapestry of work reflecting past and present realities.
The Porch is the Tree is the Watering Hole is an introspection and investigation meant to connect West African culture with foundational and historical Black communities like the Historic Sistrunk community. It is a collaborative effort to bring forth a powerful collective energy that makes everyone feel at home and generate a better understanding of this historical Black neighborhood.
As communities become increasingly disparate and disconnected, it is important to be reminded of traditions that have brought people together for centuries. Whether it be a backyard cookout, a Sunday morning church service or a gathering to listen to the latest storyteller, connection has always been at the center of community.
America has a history of sanctioning the gathering of Black bodies, as evidenced by Black codes, Jim Crow laws, redlining and the over-policing of Black communities. This group exhibition examines the outcomes of those practices and the ways space has been created and occupied by the historically ostracized.
Germane Barnes’ research and design practice investigates the connection between architecture and identity. Mining architecture’s social and political agency, he examines how the built environment influences black domesticity. His design and research contributions have been published and exhibited internationally
David J. Muir
David I. Muir’s love for candid, cultural and lifestyle photography inspires his work, and is a signature component of his photo-art collections. His critically acclaimed collection, Pieces of Jamaica, led to national and international exhibition tours and was published as a book in 2012.
Darius V. Daughtry
Darius V. Daughtry is a poet, playwright, and educator. He is an artist whose main medium is language. Story and authentically told narrative, are at the center of everything he does. Whether poem or play, he is meticulous about making sure each word read or heard evokes thought and/or an emotional response.
Marlene Brunot brings a fresh and unique approach to the visual representation of subject matters related to community engagement, neighborhood improvement and public investment.
Adler Guerrier, born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, lives and works in Miami, Florida. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad, including Coffee, Rhum, Sugar, & Gold: A Post Colonial Paradox at Museum of African Diaspora,
Olalekan Jeyifous’s work has been exhibited at venues such as the Studio Museum in Harlem and Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Vitra Design Museum, Germany and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain.
George Gadson discovered his talent for art in 1981 while in search of a means of creative relaxation from the rigors of a demanding banking career. He is a multi-disciplinary artist, griot and philosopher of the contemporary African American experience.
Adrienne Chadwick is a visual artist who utilizes accumulation, repetition, and translucence to express ideas related to power and resistance, in society and nature.
Claudia Fitch is a visual artist who early in her carrier lived and worked in New York, creating site-specific projects at the New Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park and Creative Time’s Art on the Beach.
The overall concept for The Porch is the Tree is a Watering Hole was conceived during the Summer of 2019.
While managing a couple of public art projects, in the Sistrunk area, for the Broward Cultural Division, I felt a sense of Deja-vu and wanted to further explore the neighborhood to better understand on one hand the relationship Sistrunk residents have with the built- environment, and on the other hand how this neighborhood’s unique history has shaped the way its residents relate to each other and the outside world.
The exhibition design was to be centered around two major components found in most historical Black neighborhoods: the gathering space and the alleyway. The Porch is the Tree is a Watering Hole is meant to be part introspection, part investigation.
The exhibition overall goal is to bring about a better understanding for this historical Black community and to inform the type of public art projects best suited for the area.