To Break The Ocean

AC Institute is pleased to present, To Break the Ocean, a group exhibition featuring works by Simon BenjaminKearra Amaya GopeeKasem KyddShala MillerMarilyn NanceArthur Simms and the Iyapo Repository.

 To Break the Ocean began as an inquiry into the historical and present day movement of those within the African diaspora. Through examining the infinite connections between water and blackness, the inquiry cast an outward net to include a study into the spatial, mythological and spiritual relationships of water to the body. The exhibition asserts that black people’s current ecological relationships are linked to entrenched powers of colonialism, however through their distinct approaches the artists in this exhibition offer models to survive, reclaim and imagine new objects and languages for their future landscapes.

Referencing the exhibition’s title, “to break” pulls from fluid dynamics, where the amplitude of a breaking wave causes kinetic energy to disperse thus being transformed beyond linear and predictive dynamics. Drawing parallels between the breaking of waves and the collective experience this exhibition actively considers how black peoples have triumphed and endured in the midst of uncertainty.

Presenting various approaches to the exhibitions call to action, the seven artists respond in a range of mediums such as designing artifacts for the future, creating counter narratives through multi-channel orchestras and breaking into— or out of—somatic experiences. Through transforming the lens into portals for access and documentation, to gathering objects and people in order to retell and preempt others from dictating our narratives; each artist positions themselves in relation to a constant state of change.

Considering water as a structural container simultaneously unbound and vast, To Break the Ocean utilizes a varied set of departure points for interpreting, unpacking and initiating conversations around understanding water as a vital element of the lived experience.

To Break the Ocean is organized by Zalika Azim and Marquita Flowers.

* Simon Benjamin, DIORAMA II, 2018.


Still from Video Projection on Cornmeal inside Shipping Barrel.
Image courtesy of Simon Benjamin.