In 2014, writer Stacey Patton wrote: “America does not extend the fundamental elements of childhood to Black boys and girls.” All too often their days of joyful play, heightened imagination, and dreaming about their futures are cut short by the greater need to become aware of and survive the many prejudices projected onto them. All too often these judgments — passed down from the root of racism in America to generation after generation — deem Black children “innate-ly inferior”, “dangerous”, and less innocent than their non-Black peers. As a result, Black children are profiled, targeted, and put under surveillance in almost every environment they encounter.
In this streetside exhibition, entitled, Forever Young, which features the work of Washington, D.C.-based artist Melvin Nesbitt Jr, MoCADA asks members of our community to do a self-check-in: In what ways are you impeding upon the grace of Black childhood? In what ways have you enabled biases directed at Black children to continue? Do you believe that Black children deserve to be carefree?
ABOUT THE ARTIST
“I’m a visual storyteller. My current artworks are stories set in the early 1980’s, the decade of my youth. Inspired by boyhood memories of the housing project where I lived from kindergarten through the sixth grade, I create imagery that deals with community, friendship, the joy of childhood, and the Black American experience.
Collage is the perfect medium through which to tell stories because it involves bringing together disparate items and creating harmony, cooperation, and unity among the individual parts, much like the community I remember.
I remember reading a lot as a kid, and I searched for books about kids like me and my friends from places like the housing projects where we lived. My imagery are the pages from that picture book I could never find.” – Melvin Nesbitt Jr
Visit the streetside gallery at the intersection of Hanson Place and S. Portland Avenue (on the S. Portland facade of the 80 Arts building) in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
MoCADA is committed to giving wings to artists by bringing dynamic, contemporary African art to a broad audience through a series of highly visible artists’ projects, new commissions, installations, and exhibitions in public spaces, like this streetside gallery. Your support goes in a long way in helping MoCADA create exhibitions and other special programs that benefit the community. Click GiveMo to give a gift today.