This weekend, Paradigm Studio + Gallery will present a solo exhibition of new photographic works.
The new showcase for the Queens Village art venue comes from interdisciplinary artist Shawn Theodore and is dubbed an extension of Theodore’s investigation into a space he calls “Afromythology,” which unites real stories and futures. and imaginations of African Americans.
In ‘Night Stars’, Philadelphians will get a glimpse into the traditions of African indigo making, while immersing themselves in the powers of water and stars.
The release gives a detailed interpretation of what audiences can expect when they immerse themselves in ‘Night Stars’:
“Theodore makes connections, finds connected points and intersections in the past and seeing what is repeated in the current, he identifies recurring themes, such as spirituality. Spirituality has been passed down from generation to generation, and is something that is ostensibly part of the black experience, but it is not something that you can see or touch; it happens without direct knowledge, just faith. In ‘Night Stars’, Theodore digs deeper into where instances of faith occur, such as in music, quilt making, or code switching.
“All of these contain examples of coded language, subversive art and intention, and ‘Stars of the Night’ is constructed from these metaphysical bridges. Quilt-like bridges that were used to smuggle secret messages guiding people to freedom, far beyond the creator’s own physical passage. Or the Dogon tribe of West Africa, who were master astronomers. They believed their ancestors were the descendants of a species in the Sirius star system eight light years away and being free meant coming home. Although they were physically limited, their collective celestial knowledge somehow traveled through time and space to other groups of blacks who used it to understand the same set of stars that were used. in the same way: to be led to freedom. “Afromyth” sits on these decks. “
Upon entering the exhibit, Philadelphians will lay eyes on sculptural portraits and monuments with an expansive backdrop of blue hues and colors, which is presented in ‘Night Stars’ in a tiered manner. Color itself has special significance in African and African American culture for warding off evil, and the artist aims to show how this symbolic color and connotation came to be, and if it still holds significance to this day.
“To create in blue, you first have to understand its powerful nature. There must be a world that exists within color. A spiritual process is taking place that begs us to look within, and somewhere within there are answers, ”Theodore said in a statement. “This collection includes portraits of deities adorned with jewelry in the indigo-hued ether, the fervor of revelers, the calm stillness among the dense foliage and the haints of the Low Country of South Carolina, possession in the Blue Mountains of the Jamaica and sunrise. bow at the edge of the Caribbean Sea. At the center is the spectator, who stands behind these seemingly disjointed experiences, their presence unifying the real and the unreal.
‘Night Stars’ marks the first exhibition at Paradigm with Theodore, an award-winning photographer. The German native is known for his work, which would open conversations about the photographer’s role in shaping agency and imagery. It is also said that he “engages in new forms of storytelling which have an impact on the trajectory of black collective consciousness”. Theodore has also exhibited his work and participated in exhibitions at various institutions, galleries and fairs, including locally at the Barnes Foundation and the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
The artist’s statement helps summarize the exhibition as a whole, as well as where the name came from and what meaning it has.
“‘Night Stars’ is derived from the Pole Star. African slaves in the United States used it as a point of reference not to get lost. In many ways, African Americans invested themselves in real landscapes symbols of great importance, have secured the means to acquire goods and have shed new light on the interpretation of contemporary, historical and archaeological sites. ‘Night Stars’ shows how visions of the house, the past and of the present, have helped shape the sense of belonging of African Americans, often under extremely hostile conditions.
‘Night Stars’ is open to the public from February 26 to March 20 with an opening event on Friday February 26 at 5:30 p.m. Due to COVID-19, ‘Night Stars’ will be open during normal weekend hours with capacity and is available for consultation by private appointment on weekdays until further notice. The digital twin of the exhibition is available on paradigmarts.org to view from home. To learn more about Shawn Theodore, visit shawntheodo.re