FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dara Katrina Del Rosario
Communications & Partnerships Manager
[email protected]

The Indigo Project Unravels the Stories and Contributions
of the African Diaspora through Indigo, Cotton, and Denim

Curated by Bushmama Africa and Isha Rosemond
On view December 10–February 5, 2023
Opening reception December 9, 6–9 PM

Tuesday, November 15, 2022, San Francisco, CA–SOMArts launches its 12th Curatorial Residency season with The Indigo Project, on view from December 10, 2022–February 5, 2023 and opens with a free, all-ages exhibition unveiling on December 9, 6–9 PM PST. This landmark multidisciplinary exhibition centers Black artists and their stories as means to combat the erasure of African American history, culture, and creativity.

The Indigo Project remembers the stories of African Diaspora history that have been dismembered from our collective memories: “indigo” as healing, as the Earth, as adornment, as connection; “project” as in a spiritual assignment intentionally planned to fulfill a specific purpose. Bushmama Africa, an initiated Priestess in African Traditional Religion, partnered with Isha Rosemond, a post-disciplinary artist and founder of the Black Freedom Fellowship, to uplift intergenerational and ancestral connections through indigo, cotton, and denim.

This exhibition leverages tactile art-making processes to unravel narratives that bring the African Diaspora and Indigenous peoples back to the roots of their storytelling. The curation is informed by academic research, decades of traditional African spiritual initiation, and the ethics of communal collaboration.

“The participating artists’ works all connect across time and global geography to document stories across the African Diaspora using mediums like textile, film, sculpture, and more,” says co-curator Isha Rosemond. “The dynamism of this show reflects the ever-evolving uses of indigo, cotton, and denim as both a point of historic reference and a technology rooted in the West African principle of Sankofa and the insistence of a sustainable Afro-Future.”

Media Kit

Exhibiting artists include Stephen Hamilton, whose work incorporates both Western and African techniques, blending figurative painting and drawing with resist dyeing, weaving, and woodcarving. Abayomi Anli utilizes textiles, mural making, assemblage art, and painting to inquire about Afro-Indigenous traditional ways of being and visualize Black futures grounded in healing, and Bryan Keith Thomas’ latest body of work celebrates the Black experience through its historic symbols: cotton, roses, and the African and African American image.

The free, all-ages exhibition unveiling will be held on Friday, December 9, 6–9 PM PST and features an opening ritual led by Bushmama Africa. On Saturday, January 14, The Indigo Project curators will lead a Denim Camp which explores ancestral memory practices and sustainability through denim textiles. Participants of all ages are welcome to bring denim clothing to upcycle and materials made from this workshop will be part of the online, exhibition archive.

Rounding out the exhibition programs on Thursday, February 2, 6–9 PM PST is Ancestral Reverence Revival, a communal conversation with The Indigo Project artists. Led by the exhibition curators, this artist talk seeks to answer the question: “How do Black artists move toward a sustainable Afro future?”

The first of two Curatorial Residency exhibitions of the 2022–2023 season, The Indigo Project seeks to make descendants of Africans feel proud and inspired. “I want audiences to learn about the contributions Africans have had on indigo, cotton, and denim industries,” says Bushmama Africa. “I want them to know that we worked, sometimes to death. I want them to see our style and grace beyond the time of slavery. I want our dignity shown and our creativity continues to live within us.”

Abayomi Anil, Untitled, 2020. Image courtesy
of the artist.

CURATORS
Bushmama Africa
Isha Rosemond

EXHIBITING ARTISTS
Bushmama Africa
Abayomi Anli
Nikesha Breeze
Ashara Ekundayo
Stephen Hamilton
Courtney Desiree Morris
Rachel Parrish
Isha Rosemond
Bryan Keith Thomas


CALENDAR LISTINGS
All exhibition programs and entry during gallery hours are free. To learn more about SOMArts’ COVID–19 safety plan, please visit somarts.org/healthsafety

The Indigo Project
December 10, 2022–February 5, 2023
Curated by Bushmama Africa and Isha Rosemond
Free, all ages

The Indigo Project demonstrates the living connection between Indigo, Cotton, and Denim across the temporal geography of the African Diaspora.

To learn more, visit: somarts.org/event/theindigoproject

The Indigo Project Exhibition Unveiling
Friday, December 9, 6–9 PM PST
Free, all ages

The first show of the 12th Curatorial Residency season, the exhibition unveiling features the pouring of libations, opening ritual, and curatorial remarks.

To learn more, visit: somarts.org/event/theindigoproject-opening

Denim Camp
Saturday, January 14, 1;00 PM PST
Free, all ages

Learn about ancestral memory and sustainability with this free, all-ages Denim Camp led by curators Bushmama Africa and Isha Rosemond. All artwork will be documented and archived online.

To learn more, visit: somarts.org/event/theindigoproject-denim

Ancestral Reverence Revival artist panel
Thursday, February 2, 6–9 PM PST
Free, all ages

Join curators Bushmama Africa and Isha Rosemond as they guide participants through the African Diaspora philosophy of ritual performance.

To learn more, visit: somarts.org/event/theindigoproject-panel

 

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ABOUT SOMARTS CULTURAL CENTER

SOMArts Cultural Center, founded in 1979, cultivates access to the arts within the Bay Area by collaborating with community-focused artists and organizations. Together, we engage the power of the arts to provoke just and fair inclusion, cultural respect and civic participation.

SOMArts plays a vital role in the arts ecosystem by helping activate the arts citywide. We do this by providing space and production support for non-profit events, as well as fairs and festivals throughout the Bay Area, and offering a robust program of art exhibitions, classes, events and performances that are affordable and accessible to all. SOMArts’ exhibition programs receive critical support from the San Francisco Arts Commission and The San Francisco Foundation, and are sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts.

SOMArts is located at 934 Brannan Street—between 8th and 9th—within 2 blocks of 101, I-80, Muni lines and bike paths. For public information call 415-863-1414 or visit somarts.org. Stay connected by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.