___a lineage of transgression___
Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Jamilah Malika Abu-Bakare

Curated by Liz Ikiriko

Artspace Peterborough

January 10 – February 23rd, 2020

Language Under Pressure: A Symposium

with M. NourbeSe Philip, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Jamilah Malika Abu-Bakare and Liz Ikiriko

February 14 and 15, 2020

Transgression, noun: An act that goes against a law, rule, or code of conduct; an offence.

Artspace Peterborough proudly presents ___a lineage of transgression___ the inaugural exhibition of 2020, curated by Liz Ikiriko, the exhibition features artists Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Jamilah Malika Abu-Bakare. The exhibition explores language as a tool to challenge the limitations of systemic definitions of Blackness and womanhood. As writers, poets, teachers and creators Janan Rasheed and Abu-Bakare use film, audio, photocopies, collage and text to play with the materiality of words. Continuing subversive traditions practiced by noted feminist writers such as nikki giovanni, Octavia Butler, Ntozake Shange, Audre Lorde to contemporaries Dionne Brand, M. NourbeSe Philip and Christina Sharpe – both artists use voice, revision, redaction and annotation to expand and dismantle singular interpretations of Blackness. What happens when we free language from the page and allow it to become spatial, audible or sculptural? What does that teach us about words that attempt to define and contain us? The artists’ works are inherently bound to a lineage of makers who have provided the speculative blueprint for deconstructing monolithic notions of identity and representation.

Artspace takes pride in honouring the annual celebration of Black History Month with this exhibition. From February 14 and 15, 2020 Language Under Pressure is a weekend symposium that includes a panel discussion with the artists and celebrated writer/poet M. NourbeSe Philip along with a workshop hosted by Kameelah Janan Rasheed. Along with the public programming, a publication will be released in conjunction with the exhibition.

Inspired by the speculative poetics of Black feminist writers the Language Under Pressure symposium provides an opportunity to spend time with the work and ideas of contemporary creators M. NourbeSe Philip, Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Jamilah Abu-Bakare. This one day symposium will generate discourse on the importance of carrying forth African and diasporic histories and the unconventional tools learned to claim agency and to navigate the effects of colonial language.

Scoring the Stacks (Experiment III) is a public participatory workshop hosted by Kameelah Janan Rasheed at the Peterborough Library. Drawing reference from science-fiction writer Octavia Butler’s concept of “primitive hypertext,” the workshop will explore non-traditional processes of understanding relations between language, movement, objects and experiences. Using informal exercises the workshop invites participants to generate questions around learning, unlearning and ways of perceiving and contributing to the world around us.