“Garvey’s Black Star Line made only a few voyages . . . The ships ceased sailing altogether in 1922, but they’ve remained a potent symbol of the black pilgrim’s longing for home. ‘Train to Zion is coming,’ the reggae musicians Linval Thompson and U Brown sang in the 1970s, when the call for repatriation was widespread across the black diaspora. ‘Don’t want no one to miss it / It’s the Black Star Liner / It’s going to Zion.’ Black Star Lines continue to crosscut Harlem, the Black Mecca in motion, a place that’s at once departure point, rest stop and final destination . . . Many seekers from the diasporic cosmos have journeyed to and from Harlem in search of all things sacred and secular—Jesus and jazz, Allah and hip-hop, freedom and fame.” – Christina Zanfagna, “Home to Harlem”
Join artist Aya Rodriguez-Izumi and Studio Museum Harlem educator Dalila Scruggs in a sensory-based tour of inHarlem: Simone Leigh. Participants will experience the space and formal aspects of Leigh’s installation to reflect on themes of healing, community and diaspora. An exciting new chapter in the Studio Museum in Harlem’s nearly fifty-year history as the nexus for artists of African descent, inHarlem is a set of initiatives designed to explore dynamic ways to take the institution beyond its walls. inHarlem: Simone Leigh is a specially commissioned project which synthesizes the multimedia artist’s recent forays into the public realm with her longstanding interest in African and African-American material culture and female identity. The installation, a particularly elaborate imba yokubikira, or kitchen house, stands locked up while its owners live in diaspora, inserts three structures, reminiscent of imba yokubikira (kitchen houses) from Shona-speaking rural areas of Zimbabwe, into the landscape of Marcus Garvey Park.
Meeting Point: The hour-long interactive tour will commence at the Marcus Garvey Park entrance located on 124th and 5th Ave.
If you would like to explore Harlem even further, you can join community activist Julien A. Terrell at 2pm for a neighborhood walking tour “Harlem: A Creative and Political Mecca” as part of The Laundromat Project’s Field Day (Free, RSVP Required).
This event is also part of a series of programs associated with Nonstop Metropolis: The Remix, leading up to the launch of Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro’s Nonstop Metropolis: A New York Atlas at the Queens Museum on October 2, 2016. Christina Zanfagna’s essay “Home to Harlem” is a jumping off point for the map Black Star Lines: Harlem Secular and Sacred by cartographer Molly Roy; both found in Nonstop Metropolis.
Featured Image: Simone Leigh: A particularly elaborate imba yokubikira, or kitchen house, stands locked up while its owners live in diaspora (installation view), 2016. Located in Marcus Garvey Park, New York, NY, August 25, 2016–July 25, 2017. Photo: Liz Gwinn
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