Queen Latifah welcomed listeners to her Queendom with her 1989 debut hip hop album “All Hail the Queen.” The album featured such hits as “Ladies First” and “Wrath of My Madness,” but it’s “Come Into My House” that’s captivated Brooklyn artists this week.
In the song, Latifah sings “Don’t make me wait, come into my house” and “Give me body,” words which inspired the “Give Me Body: Femme Re-Divined” exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA).
Open this week, “Give Me Body: Femme Re-Divined” explores our cultural understanding of female and femme bodies. The exhibit welcomes visitors to “explore the spectrum of womanhood, mind, body and soul.”
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It’s official! The “Give Me Body!: Femme Re-Divined” exhibit is on view until April 16. Featuring the phenomenal works of Adrienne Gaither, Brittney Leanne Williams, Nikesha Breeze, Denae Howard, Diamond Stingily, Genesis Tramaine, Darryl Terrell, Marielys Burgos Melendez, Harmonia Rosales, Theda Sandiford, Deun Ivory, Monica Hernandez, Kimberly Becoat, Joy Messi, Vanessa German, Sophia Rose, and Ayesha T. Jordan. Stop by the museum when you’re in the neighborhood. Celebrate women! You won’t be disappointed… ❤️✊✊✊✊#givemebody #mocadaonview #womenfirst #blackwomenlead #socialactivism #unapologeticallyblack #womensmonth
“Give Me Body: Femme Re-Divined” features work by 17 female, femme, and queer artists of color. Working in paint, photography, mixed-media, or performance, each of the artists tackles questions of gender or identity.
“Social norms have long dictated gender, from their public facing meanings to their private impact,” reads the exhibit description. “Mother. Shorty. Wifey. Bitch. Woman. Trans. Feminist — and other various descriptors for the female sex gradient, also come diabolically attached to a long antiquated idea of femininity, whose trappings and boundaries suffocate rather than uplift.”
Artist Nikesha Breeze considers the ideas associated with womanhood in her “Tribute to My Mother: A Treatise on Language, Sex, Resistance, Unity and the Power of the Sacred.” The piece is made of pages torn out of books of patriarchal literature, with three vulvas painted over the pages.
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“Give Me Body! Femme Re-Divined” is the next exhibit at MoCADA, opening in just a few short days. To celebrate, we’re expanding the conversation about the spectrum of womanhood mind, body, and soul. Join us for a special artist talk with Genesis Tramaine, Marielys Burgos Melendez, Monica Hernandez, Theda Sandiford, and others this Saturday, March 2, at 6pm at Brooklyn Museum. Spread the word and come through! : “Neon Autotune” by Theda Sandiford #blackart #creators #womensmonth #unapologeticallyblack #firstsaturdaysbkm #mocadaonview #unapologeticallyafrican #artistalk
“How do we begin to heal. What does it look like for a body, that has been historically denied beauty and strength and power, to claim its birthright again?” Breeze wrote in an Instagram post. “As a society we must begin this process of learning how to love the body again, to live without apology for our blood and our birth.”
Similarly, Harmonia Rosales, who works in oil paintings reminiscent of Renaissance-era masterpieces, centers her practice around subverting ideas of gender and race in art. In collections titled “New World Consciousness” and “B.I.T.C.H: Black Imaginary to Counter Hegemony,” she illustrates biblical and mythological scenes with black characters.
Other notable artists to check out at the exhibit include poet Diamond Stingily, mixed-media artist Joy Miessi, and Brooklyn native and painter Genesis Tramaine.
The exhibit times well with MoCADA’s 20th anniversary celebrations this year. Founded in 1999, MoCADA has worked to fulfill founder Laurie Angela Cumbo’s hope of revitalizing central Brooklyn through African diaspora art. From its home near Atlantic Terminal in Bed-Stuy, MoCADA hosts art exhibits, performances, educational tours, and artist panels.
In honor of its 20th anniversary, MoCADA is preparing a move to 300 Ashland Place and will host special events around Brooklyn and on Governors Island this summer.