"Into the Deep, Unto the New" Curatorial Statement

Naomi Stewart
May 9, 2021

Curatorial Statement

Dea Studios is proud to present the 2021 cohort of Inbreak Residency’s first interactive virtual exhibition, Into the Deep, Unto the New. The Inbreak Residency is an incubator for artists of any discipline, writers, curators, and preachers to foster a brave space that facilitates a raw exploration of art, faith, and race in the United States. Over the course of three months, residents engage in texts, open dialogue, and somatic practice to metabolize themes surrounding racial trauma in the U.S. Each resident is encouraged to reimagine their individual role in generating social healing through self-led community projects using their creative practice and tools provided by the residency.

The events that took place on May 25th, 2020 became the springboard for this residency and first cohort. As we know, George Floyd was tragically killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill on this day. Society witnessed this tragic murder at the hands of the Minneapolis police, leading to worldwide protests calling for racial justice--for a recognition of the dignity and value of Black life. The growing political tension exacerbated racial disunity and division in the United States. Black and Indigenous people were again reminded that they must convince the world of their existence and of their value.

During the breadth of Inbreak Residency 2021, we examined the degradation of the value of BIPOC life beginning with  Dr. Willie Jennings’ book, "The Christian Imagination". In his text, Jennings states that concepts of value and intimacy have been “imagined by Western, white, male identities, [and that,] at another level[,] these are ways of being in the world that resist the realities of submission, desire, and transformation”. [3] He goes on to say that, “the intimacy that marks [Christian] history is a painful one, one in which the joining often meant oppression, violence, and death, if not of bodies then most certainly of ways of life, forms of language, and visions of the world”. [3] This degradation of body, culture, language and vision is realized in embodied and intergenerational racialized trauma-- deeply marking place and person.

We asked as a cohort: "How do we heal racialized trauma and what can a post-racialized society look like?" In Resmaa Menakem’s book, "My Grandmother’s Hands", he states that, “In today’s America, we tend to think of healing as something binary: either we’re broken or we’re healed from that brokenness. But that’s not how healing operates, and it’s almost never how human growth works. More often, healing and growth take place on a continuum, with innumerable points between utter brokenness and total health.” We believe along this continuum is where healing can begin.

Into the Deep, Unto the New is an interactive virtual exhibition that navigates this continuum of collective healing. A virtual showcase by Inbreak residents (Liberty Worth, Steve Anthony Johnson, Arneshia Williams, and Andrew Nemr), Into the Deep, Unto the New provides a lens through which we see the impassioned overflow from art as practice to art as community-building in effort to bravely uncover racialized trauma and to reimagine a post-racialized society.The  exhibition includes drawings, quilts, spoken/written storytelling, tap performance, embodied movement performance, and video from Inbreak residents and their community members.

Interactive Virtual Installation