Dec 04, 2019-Mar 01, 2020

Don't Shoot

An Opus of the Opulence of Blackness

Curators’ Statement by Melonie Green & Melorra Green

We create platforms for, by, and about Black artists and thought leaders in our commitment to control our own narrative. Inspired by the story of a teacher who enlightened his photography class about the harms of using words adopted by the domain of weaponry, Don’t Shoot is a reclamation of power in not only our art, but our art spaces and art practices. Just as a still image is a suggested microcosm of space, each piece will create a narrative and share the complexities of life as a Black person by freezing moments in time.

Although the Black lens is often overlooked, eliminated, or considered as an afterthought, Don’t Shoot is an invitation to witness and investigate what it looks like when we control the frames around Blackness. This exhibition calls upon Black photographers—still and motion—and installation artists to share the richness of Blackness in the midst of joy or in spite of pain by elevating the biomimicry of Black survival. We explore the ways in which Blackness is classified, observed, absorbed, or honored through rituals and spiritual practices.

As Black curators based in the San Francisco Bay Area, we consider it an honor to share our opus about the beauty of Blackness at the Museum of the African Diaspora. In addition to sharing our bold love and respect for the genius of Black artists, we will share our love and commitment to our community and for community engagement by providing two opportunities for the community to participate. Black people are invited to contribute to a Community Wall of Black Opulence by sharing one 4×6 photograph that they consider a beautiful moment in Blackness. All are invited to engage, during special moments, in a culturally appropriate open air photo booth equipped with ephemera and theatrical props.

Curated by Melonie Green & Melorra Green, Co-Executive Directors of the African American Art & Culture Complex