Old Black Magic is a love song for blackness sung through visual art, photography, film, performance art, poetry, dance and music.
Ella Fitzgerald sings in the popular song “Old Black Magic,” That old black magic has me in its spell / That old black magic that you weave so well.” The song, which inspired the title of the show, may be about a beguiling lover, but the essence is truth. Old Black Magic is a love song for blackness. It is a documentation of our histories and the stories we wish to tell, the stories that are silenced and need to be told and explored to better understand our place in the world. It is an examination of whether or not this world is for us, and what world we wish to create. Old Black Magic is an exploration of how to exist in that world. Old Black Magic is about the invincible. If art is a reflection of the times, we reflect, grow and glow. Be the magic you wish to see in the world. Be Black. Be Magic.
Amir George is a practicing alchemist working as a motion picture artist and film programmer. Amir creates work for the cinema, installation, and live performance. Born and bred in Chicago his motion picture work and curated programs have been screened in festivals and galleries nationally and internationally. In addition to founding Cinema Culture, a grassroots film programming organization, Amir is the co-curator of Black Radical Imagination a touring experimental short film series.
Alexandria Eregbu is a conceptual artist and disciplinary deviant. Her practice often takes shape in the form of maker, educator, curator, performer, and programmer. Alexandria’s concerns frequently address visibility, ontology, family, locality, and mobility. Her work tends to insert itself at the axis of personal experience and myth—usually reliant upon the collection of artifacts, material culture, and an attentiveness to current and historical events.
Antonia Amir is a Chicago based photographer with an eye for capturing moments and people, through portrait and street and fashion photography. She aggressively shoots moments in time that continue to live and breath far after they are stolen.
Brandon Markell Holmes
Brandon Markell Holmes, an American Multi-Medium installation based performance artist.
Formally trained as a theatre actor, Brandon has found the congruency in compelling story telling and abstract exposition. His music is soothing to the ears and intriguing to the psyche.
Several forces fuel Compton Quashie as a Chicago based designer and artist. Through exploration and research he focuses on issues surrounding cultural history and appropriation. Themes of Afrofuturism, gender fluidity, popular and material culture, historical narratives, and the rapidly evolving world of street fashion climax in his unique expression of fashion, body and garment.
“Much of my work is concerned with social inequality along both national and global fronts. My imagery explores historical moments. Moments that celebrate the beauty of a people or the necessary light upon violence against humanity, in its many forms, with special attention to the plight of women and children. Through research, I engage with the past and use my art to give a public and present voice to those whose voices have been silenced or just plainly, ignored. Although I am well known for my collage-based work, I implement a wide variety of media to manifest my work. I make use of text and performance in my work to strengthen the voice. My practice is socially engaged, personally, in my interaction and collaboration with other artists, and politically, in my activism through my work.”
Devin Cain is a Chicago based film/interdisciplinary artist whose work inquires the hybridity in using narrativity & experimental techniques to initiate a new form of storytelling. Complementing his trade in film, he is also a performer, writer, and teaching artist seeking to cultivate himself with a unique vision and to express that vision through art, tearing down boundaries and redefining cultural aesthetics.
Duane E Powell
Duane Powell’s love for music started an early age growing up in the 1970’s being exposed to Chicago’s rich soul music scene. His uncles were disc jockeys until the mid 80’s and artists including Minnie Riperton, The Emotions, Chaka Khan, Miki Howard, The Staple Singers were their classmates and / or family friends. In 1985, Duane entered into the world of street promotions pounding the pavement promoting events for prominent DJs within Chicago’s burgeoning house music scene starting with Lil Louis. As a promoter, he launched the SOUNDROTATION brand in 1999, further cultivating the underground soul scene in Chicago giving many of those acts their performance debuts in the market. According to his following, his SOUNDROTATION compilations create sonic satisfaction, that impinge on their emotions and lend freedom to their souls.
TESFAYE. art is expression. art is reflection. art is endurance. art is an awakening. art is ancient history. art is alchemy. art is self defined. healing the world, one paint stroke at at time.
Gira Dahnee believes that music is a passageway to the metaphysical realm. Her motto is: “follow your heart; it will take you where it you need to be.” Her EP “Future Geechee” merges the genres of jazz, rock, and electro-experimental and explores modern day personal experiences with people, spirits, and the creator. Audience participants will understand the emotions of a black american woman who is powerful but still learning how to utilize feminine power in the world we live in today while simultaneously projecting what the power of womanhood should in fact look like in the future.
Ireashia Monet is a Chicago-based photographer, independent scholar, and multimedia artist, using photography and image-based art to interrogate complex narratives surrounding black femme identity and expression.
Jordan Dxtr Holmes
Born and Raised in the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia), Jordan “DXTR Spits” Holmes relocated to Chicago to continue developing artistically and submerge himself in a new environment. He is an Engineer/Scientist by day which inspires his scientific approach to music, spoken word, and entrepreneurship. He is mentored by Dr. Nikki Giovanni who encourages him to continue community involvement leading him to begin speaking at schools to the youth about realizing potential.
Joshua ‘Stretch’ Ishmon
Joshua L. Ishmon of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, discovered his attraction to dance at a young age and studied African dance and musical theater under the instruction of Toni Washington Simpson and Marc Spencer. Joshua also studied at Ballet Chicago and M.A.D.D. Rhythms. Joshua attended Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts where he studied under Larry Brewer, Michal Davis, and Porsha Woodson-Reese. After graduating in 2007, he joined DRDT2 and matriculated into DRDT in 2009 and is also a member of Winifred R. Harris’ Between Lines. Josh has set choreography for EVPA, South Shore Dance Alliance (SSDA), BC, and DRDT2. Joshua has taught as a guest artist at Kansas Wesleyan University, “Swamp Gravy” in GA, “Choose Dance” in WY, and Purdue University. He recently choreographed Production COLORS with Sam Trump at the Chicago Cultural Center. Joshua is in constant pursuit of deepening his artistry, and must pay homage to the amazing people whose shoulders he stands on.
My work emerges at the intersection of poetics, popular culture, and the dynamic histories of the African Diaspora. The Fantastic, the surreal, mythmaking, black portraiture, and the collective conscious are conceptual preoccupations of my work. The forms take shape in collage, hand papermaking, installation, poetry, letterpress, altered bookmaking and performance. I appropriate image and text as a political gesture that chisels away at the narratives historically inscribed on women and people of color, and forges imaginative spaces for radical possibilities and visions.
Growing up in Chicago, Lonnie Edwards always had an active imagination. It was not until 2012, with the help of his closest friend & confidante that he figured out his true calling as a filmmaker. In late 2013, self-taught with no formal training, Lonnie Edwards would go on to direct his debut short film titled, “Parietal Guidance,” which had a tremendously successful film festival run throughout 2014-15, winning 14 awards, most notably Chicago International Film Festival & New York No Limits Film Series. He followed that up with his current, critically-acclaimed sophomore project “A Ferguson Story.”
Mo G is a dedicated hair stylist, passionate about transforming the ideas and previous concepts regarding the limits of natural hair.
Norman Teague is a Chicago based designer who focuses on projects and pedagogy that address the complexity of urbanism and the history of communities. Specializing in custom objects that deliver a personal touch and unique aesthetic detail. Teague’s past projects have included consumer products, public sculpture, performances and specialty designed retail spaces. He works with common, locally-sourced building material and local fabricators to create objects and spaces that explore simplicity, honesty and clever- ness that relates to the culture of the client and/or community.
Photographer. Pothos’ main focus is to help purify the air of the harmful substances which it does effortlessly.
A graduate of the University of South Florida’s graduate program in Africana Studies, where his studies focused on literature and critical theory, Eldridge has engaged widely on the role of the arts in constructing identity, and seeks to help expand the dimensions of contemporary discussion on the intersections between performance, history, race, ontology and myth. His current projects include a collection of lyric essays and visual works that inquire about time, race and yearning in a shifting moment.
Sam Trump Harris
Sam “Trump” Harris is a trumpeter and singer/songwriter from Houston, TX, and has been a student of music for over 20 years. Now residing in Chicago, he is currently touring full-time with live HipHop/Jazz/Soul band, Sidewalk Chalk, and spends most of his downtime promoting his solo work.Trump is very active on the local scene and has been highlighted at several artist features and radio shows throughout Chicago, and has also become a staple at some of the city’s premier venues such as The Promontory, The California Clipper, Untitled, and Refuge Live! Throughout his original music, Trump wants to remain innovative, but also convey a preservation of down-home soul.
Viktor le. Givens is an installation and performance artist whose practice centers around the gathering of ancestral objects to activate spaces for site-specific rituals. His materials frequently include forgotten and discarded household items and personal effects. Through the accumulation of these cultural artifacts, le. Givens seeks to create spaces that inspire the activation of cultural memory and support African-American spiritual continuities. His work was been presented at a range of spaces, including Glass Curtain Gallery, South Side Community Art Center, the Art Institute of Chicago, and recently as part of Fo Wilson’s Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities at Lynden Sculpture Garden in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Givens is currently an MFA candidate in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago.
Zakkiyyah Najeebah is a photographic artist + documentarian. Zakkiyyah holds a background in art history and black cultural studies, which heavily influences her urgent intentions on creating and facilitating work to engage folks of color to preserve their own narratives and lived experiences. The visual components and intersectional cultural advancements that are entirely unique to the black experience and voice is the primary impulse for her visual practices.
Monday Jan 25th: Amir George Film Release
Friday Feb 3rd: Music Release from Calez
Friday Feb 10th: Closing Night