October 4, 2022
MCLA Arts & Culture (MAC) will showcase a new solo exhibition at Gallery 51, “To Know A Veil” by Nathaniel Donnett on October 7.
The opening reception will run from 5-7 p.m. and the exhibition will be on display until January 27, 2023.
To Know A Veil consists of wall works, sculptures, an installation, and sounds that investigate concerns about fragmentation, memory, erasure, the self, and interiority. The exhibition borrows its title from W. E. B. Du Bois's classic book The Souls of Black Folk. In that work, the Veil signifies racism and the accompanying moral perception of Black America. Donnett also draws on Fred Moten's notion of enclosure—a psychological entrapment caused by social precarity. In the context of this exhibition, Donnett questions how individuals navigate enclosures that frame groups of people as reductive, noncomplex categories instead of plural, complex beings.
During the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Artist Lab Residency, Donnett invited students from Berkshire County's Pine Cobble School, Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School, and MCLA to participate in this exhibition. They collaborated on a backpack exchange during which the students were given new backpacks in exchange for their old bags. The students also recorded interviews with Donnett that he then used to create an experimental sound piece.
To Know A Veil communicates the power of imagination as an intermediary, catalyst, and portal that occupies spaces between being and becoming, continuously challenging modern-day ideologies, which stem from our past and impact our future. There is no definitive beginning or end when imagining possibilities, complex positions, or solutions—only human conditions embedded between moments of learning, reflecting, and doing.
About Nathaniel Donnett
Donnett is an interdisciplinary cultural practitioner born in Houston, Texas. His practice holds metaphysical and phenomenological spaces that explore space/time, history, notions of being, the in/exterior, and race. Black aesthetic traditions, music, refusal, fractal theory, incompleteness, and sacred geometry are strategies and systems he uses to challenge conventional timeline narratives and Western frameworks. Donnett fuses immaterial and material worlds to expand the meaning and understanding around sociopolitical concerns and liminal spaces that impact underrepresented people and overlooked conditions.
MCLA Arts and Culture (MAC) is MCLA’s newly expanded arts programming arm. MAC serves as the nexus for internal and external partnerships to create engaging and equity-focused projects that encourage public arts participation, as well as the investigation of arts-based pedagogy that can reshape institutional practices. MAC (formerly known as BCRC, the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center) functions as a hub that supports interdisciplinary approaches to education, social justice, and academic research across MCLA’s campus. MAC supports the expansion of MCLA programming to include: faculty opportunities for interdisciplinary curriculum development; interdisciplinary faculty and student social justice research; arts and culture symposia and workshops; internships for underrepresented student communities; and the development of an open-access archive that includes documented community arts projects and support tools that other college campuses and communities can use and apply to fit their needs.
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