Black Venus
The Sound She Saw with Crystal Whaley, Adreinne Waheed and Renee Cox
In-Person at MoAD
Jun 22, 2023
6:30 pm
8:30 pm
Free with Museum Admission
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Join us for a film screening and discussion of THE SOUND SHE SAW, a documentary film featuring contemporary, ground-breaking Black women photographers. A conversation with Director Crystal Whaley and Artists Renee Cox and Adreinne Waheed will follow the screening. This program is presented in conjunction with the current exhibition Black Venus featuring artist Renee Cox.

The Sound She Saw is a documentary film featuring contemporary, ground-breaking Black women photographers. The film reveals their history & struggle while showcasing and celebrating their work by answering the question: What happens when a Black woman photographer has the agency and the control to reverse the gaze and see the world through her unique lens? The photographers featured in The Sound She Saw challenge the status quo by collectively redefining thenarrative, image by image.

Crystal Whaley is a multiple EMMY award winning filmmaker, writer, director and gallery curator. She's the producer & deputy deputy editor of two critically acclaimed photo books featuring Black women photographers. Crystal is a visual storyteller, culture curator and activist where Black women and girls are at the center. She's committed to telling and amplifying beautiful, authentic, thought provoking stories that spark conversation and activate change.

Renee Cox makes photographs, collages, and installations that draw on art history, fashion photography and popular culture. Her work invokes a critical vision of female sexuality, beauty, power and heroism through nudity, religious imagery and symbolism that inform her interdisciplinary process. She is most noted for her larger than life photographs of female bodies. She reexamines the black female figure in the context of structures of power. Inspired by critical epochs and artistic styles, her works are often re-imaginations of art history, ranging from the Italian Renaissance such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, to Cubism (Picasso), Modernism (Édouard Manet) to traditional West African Art (Dogon, Mali, Cross River section of Nigeria). Cox utilizes a mélange of photographic styles in the vein of fashion photographer Richard Avedon, German portrait photographer August Sander, as well as summoning Harlem Renaissance photographic practices, inspired by James Van Der Zee and Gordon Parks to the obscure ritualistic three-dimensional sculptural collages of Bettye Saar. Cox’s work is a celebration of the spectrum of the black female body. Her work challenges how women are seen respective to time, place and the intangible spaces between representation and reality.

Adreinne Waheed is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, NY, and Berkeley, CA. Her workbears witness to and holds space for the beauty, brilliance and resilience of Black folks across the diaspora. Ms. Waheed is an accomplished photo editor who, during her 20 year career, has researched, produced and directed numerous shoots, for publications including Vibe and Essence magazines.  Her photo research work can be seen in the books, Prince: A Tribute to his Royal Badness and Black Women in Hollywood: A Salute to Trailblazers at the Oscars. Adreinne's work also appears in the inaugural issue of Mfon: A Journal of Women Photographers of the African Diaspora and the NAACP's Twenty 20 in Black. In 2010, she created the Waheed Photo Archive, an extensive collection of found photos of the African American community from the Civil War to the present. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) acquired the archive in 2015. Selected images from this collection and a related essay can be found in NMAAHC’s book, Everyday Beauty. Her self-published coffee table book, entitled Black Joy and Resistance, was released in December 2018 and is now sold out.

This program is presented in conjunction with our current exhibition Black Venus, on view through August 20, 2023.

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