Sanctified is a physical embodiment of an exploration into various sides of Christianity told through a Black lens. The installation features three main components that represent a physical exploration of religious trauma hidden behind pleasing aesthetics, and its infantilizing effects on Black people. Religion is addressed in pastel and jewel tones throughout the piece, using the muted, and sometimes sickly sweet color palette to call forth a feeling of having eaten too much candy, or a sheep in wolves clothing.
A “flock” of church hats, represents both the mark that Black women have made in contemporary religion and the undertones of misplaced whimsy.
In addition is a hand-built, small-scale pew, an easily recognizable religious artifact, its occupants stuffed animals instead of churchgoers.
Scattered about are thick, white bibles.A centerpiece of many Christian homes, with yet another nod to the presence of Blackness in modern Christianity.
Among the bibles are various kitschy religious items, referring once again to the innocence of young religious goers, who are either not yet or have not experienced trauma. Finally, a simple looping video showing the artist’s feet encased in adult “church shoes” and socks, a reminder that religious trauma, despite its kitchy wrapping paper, remains. “Sanctified” invites viewers to take a trip through religious nostalgia, and to ponder hidden harbingers of trauma.
Sanctified will be on view from May 7th through June 3rd. Join us for the opening at Co-Prosperity, featuring an open mic organized by Rainn Thomas, on May 7th from 6 to 9 pm.* That same night, Neo-Tang curated by Max Morris and Paul Nudd will be opening at Co-Pro.
More information will be available at coprosperity.org.
Sign ups for the Open Mic will start at 6:30 PM.
*You must be fully vaccinated and all are advised to wear a mask. Let’s continue to keep each other and our communities safe. Proof of vaccination will be required.
About the Artist
Rainn (She/They) is a Black, queer writer and artist living in Chicago. Her writing explores the intersections of Black pop culture and religion, as well as Black sexuality. Her work has been published in various publications online. Rainn also hosts a queer, monthly open mic called, “Fruit Salad”. Rainn’s artistic work focuses on found-object installation and photography. Her installation, “Sanctified”, is her debut work as an artist.