A museum centered on Art + Education + Social Justice through the lens of Africa + the diaspora

Soil & Shadow | The Living Altar

Creative Direction by: Noni Limar

Presented by: Soil and Shadow + Kalliopeia Foundation + MoCADA

Location: Virtual (scroll down to view)

Made possible thanks to the generous gifts made by:


On View: June 16 – October 31, 2022

In Person Exhibition on Governors Island | June 16 – October 31, 2022

RITUAL EVENT | July 23, 2021: CLOSED

VIRTUAL EXHIBITION | June 30 – December 23, 2021  (First Preview)


The Earth is a living altar. Mama Earth, The Great Mama, Our One Planet, the home place that we share with Mother Earth’s other children in the glorious mystery of life. This exhibition is an 11-part audiovisual homage and tribute to our planet. The exhibit experience is multidimensional, wrapping the audience in the sensation of sitting at the feet of their elders. Sitting in a circle created by a shared understanding, a singular act of ceremony, a sensory-rich moment that is a catalyst of transformation.

The Living Altar exhibition was conceived under the direction of Soil and Shadow and the Kalliopeia Foundation and was gestated over a period of 18 months, beginning in October 2019 with the convening in Chicago of a group of twenty Black and people of color community leaders from across the country. These activists, artists, writers and academics brought together a unique combination of historical and ancestral knowledge, artistic interpretations, and sharp assessments of current political, societal, and environmental conditions and challenges. In 2020, The Living Altar was birthed as a multimedia exhibit, a deserved platform for the participants of the gathering called Spiritual Ecology and Culture, a way to share their knowledge and wisdom, information that is critical to orienting us during these turbulent contemporary times. Under the creative direction of Noni Limar and joined by Blackbird and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art the exhibit brings together the stories of the participants with lovingly curated original and recorded music and powerful imagery.



Authors (Voices, in alphabetical order): Claudia Ford, Dekera Greene Rodriguez, Ibrahim Abdul Matin, Jose Luis Ortiz, Kim Ruffin, Nikki Silvestri, Omar Brownson, Orrin Williams, Sherry Williams, Toni Anderson, Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Valerie Rawls, Veronica Kyle

Audio Design: TaRaach

Visual Collage Artist: Rena Anakwe

Creative Direction: Noni Limar


To learn more about the artists and contributors to this project, click HERE.

To see the full list of credits for sound and video sources used in the films, download HERE.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Fair Use Notice:

This project contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been authorized by the copyright owner. MoCADA makes such material available in our efforts to advance the understanding of social justice issues for the purpose of engaging dialogue, providing access to educational resources not readily available, creating equity, and empowering communities of the African diaspora. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material herein is distributed without profit to those who have expressed interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. 



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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 virtual 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. 

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