THE RISE AND FAIL OF THE N-WORD- A FINE ART EXHIBITION
With this exhibition of over 60 revolvving beautiful and provocative works, artist Rhinold Lamar Ponder addresses our collective inability to have honest and productive discussions about race, justice and inequality in America. Despite this dysfunction, more and more people across races, ethnicities, religions, sexes and sexual preferences desire to have intersectional discussions about injustice and inequality centered around race. The purpose of The Rise and Fail of the N-Word Traveling Art Exhibit and seminar is to serve as a prompt to facilitate those conversations and meaningful reflection on these concerns.
This exhibit offers us an opportunity to view these issues from a creative perspective and to develop a common language so that we can gain a mutual understanding of the impact of racial injustice in America and all our lives.
Our collective dysfunction around race is most outwardly evident around the word “Nigger.” The word draws a societal range of emotions and actions that seem to be filled with more contradictions than rationality. Incredibly, art can serve as a healing force as it provokes us to collectively re-examine our environment and perceptions of the world. This provocative project focuses on over 50 works by Rhinold and includes his groundbreaking project of logos, from the word nigger, created by hired designers from around the world. Rhinold’s work of stunning pieces includes a panels installation representing the life-ending encounters between unarmed individuals and law enforcement officers and large scale abstract work with clear historical significance.
The project is accompanied by select poetry, created specifically for this project, mounted alongside the art work for consideration and reflection.
The project, which was first exhibited at Princeton University in 2014, will begin a national tour in the fall of 2017. It will be shown in Hartford, Connecticut with the support of a major foundation, to be announced, in October this year.
If you or your organization are interested in supporting or hosting this exhibition, please feel free to contact the artist by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), Facebook (Rhinold Ponder) or fax 609.228.5851.
The concept of “race” is a living fiction. If functions in real life as “racism.” It is a lie created, perpetuated and expanded to rationalize the subjugation of one segment of the human race by other members of the human race. At the very core is the notion that one group of people is “inferior” to another group. White supremacy and black inferiority are woven deep into the fabric of American life from the Constitution to our culture.
For many, the word “Nigger” represents the lowest, most vile elements of this notion of racial inferiority that persists to this day. How do you live, love, be productive, and be happy and whole while living your reality in a pervasive fiction? How do you as an individual and as a group remove yourself from or destroy the fiction instead of simply rewriting and reshaping the narrative?
The Welcome Nigger Mirror (mixed media, including found and cut mirror, tape and frosted paint — not shown here) is a harsh greeting but is meant to begin your thinking about “Nigger” as part of a fiction called race, a fiction that ignores that the only race is human. In that fiction invariably what we see is a distorted and disjointed image of ourselves.
Optic White is a group of four white on white paintings with the word “Nigger” or variations of the word included within the paintings. The paintings were inspired by Ralph Ellison’s book “Invisible Man” which is in essence about identity and the in humanity of man based on racial ideas. For the artist, painting white on white (and black on black) addressed the problem of artistically translating the idea of human invisibility and lost identity onto canvas.
“Nightshade: Nigger Rich” has multiple meanings just like the word “Nigger” does. Most commonly it refers to one’ s rich not being the best type of rich. You pick your own meaning, but appreciate that the word rich in the painting is shaped by real bits of one dollar bills.
Hands Up, Don’t Shoot panel. Hands Up Don’t Shoot is a multi-paneled painting representative of the hundreds of unarmed people of color killed by police. It celebrates the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement while reminding the viewer that society has not progressed far enough in the perception and treatment of people of color.
Description of the “Nigger Logos”