What happens if February never ends?
february is a digital collage series by Lorenzo Baker that expands and explores the definitions of Black History. Looking at history from a unique vantage point, the daily project offers viewers insight into what is commonly known as Black History Month.
The push for celebrating Black History Month began in the 1920s, with the work of Historian Carter G. Woodson, who proposed in 1926 that, "It is not so much a Negro History Week as it is a History Week. We should emphasise not Negro History, but the Negro in History. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hatred and religious prejudice". Motivated by the achievements Carter. G Woodson, february extends the argument that the achievements, moments, and record of Black people should be commemorated well beyond the standardized 28/29-day long window.
Sourcing from the principles of Afrofuturism, which override western approaches to time, space, and meaning, february began by addressing the question “what happens if February never ends?” Utilizing historical photographs, documents, illustrations, and images sourced from the internet, the artworks bend the viewers understanding of what is worth historizing. As a daily meditation on Black History, each artwork blends and incorporates new or obscure information and data into depictions of well-known and unfamiliar icons within the black historical cosmos.
Gallery 51 is honored to partake in this participatory art project sponsored and organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), a non-profit research-art-education-media collective, directed by anthropologist Jason De León. The exhibition is composed of ~3,200 handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019. These tags are geolocated on a wall map of the desert showing the exact locations where remains were found. This installation will simultaneously take place at a large number of institutions, both nationally and globally.
Gallery 51 along with 4 other partners will participate in a social distancing art project designed by artist and educator Yumi Janairo Roth. The project involves a kit prepared by the artist which includes directions, stencils, and materials to create markers for social distancing in public spaces. These are not just regular squares or lines though, as Roth repurposed Sol LeWitt’s 1973, Straight Lines in Four Directions and All Their Possible Combinations for a time of social distancing”. It is a reimagination of Sol LeWitt’s instructions and geometric shapes as instructions for standing and waiting as well as creating and maintaining spaces between ourselves. So as you travel around the Berkshires keep an eye out for these Sol LeWitt squares.