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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Remembering Not To Forget, BADC Exhibit Statement

Duke Ellington School of the Arts September 11, 2008

We are a people who are always asked to forget. We are asked to forget our homeland, our genius, our languages, our natural beauty; the brutality of our disbursement and the various ways that it's ugliness has morphed. On this day 9-11 we can remember the cooks, janitors, doormen, the people who provided "services" for those who operate in the world of business. Remember: Remembering not to Forget is a profound title for an exhibition in a school populated by dark people in a place that salutes the gifted musician, Duke Ellington. This is also a place that held Black children orphaned by the Civil War. I am sure this building creeks and moans with it's own memories.

Remembering is and important activity for artists and for Black artists it is an act of both survival and revolt.

To refuse to forget is a powerful thing and these artists are powerful. In these works you can hear the rhythms of Ashanti, Yorba, and Congolese the whispers of Nedu Neter and Twi. You will see memories from all the continents that we have traveled to both willingly and unwillingly… our people have navigated the seas for millennia. Memories of cold places, Jim Crow, and civil rights movements and when the levees broke (I refuse to blame that on Katrina…. I remember). These works are bursting with memories for a people who stand again, and again, and again.

Young people we need you to remember. We need you to adopt our memories, to take them gently, and acknowledge their preciousness. They can give roots to your own and act as an anchor as you move through future whirlwinds. We have expressed our memories. You have cataloged, arranged and labeled them. Your work offers, documentation, classification and validation. You are presenting our memories to the public to share and share, and share. We thank you.

Claudia "Aziza" Gibson-Hunter
BADC Facilitator/ Co- Founder

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