Wading in the Water in the Sweet Forever, is a multimedia exhibition that was the culmination of a collaboration between myself and students in the CBMR Research Studio. As the 2013-14 Center for Black Research (CBMR) Faculty Fellow, I invited undergraduate and graduate students from various departments across Columbia College Chicago where I teach, to collaborate with me in creating work using research materials from the CBMR archive related to themes of water. During the semester, our studio presented work at Waterwheel, an international online symposium with 200 other artists, scientists and academics in March 2014 (water-wheel.net).
Water can be a destructive, transformative, and redemptive force: from the destruction of a tsunami, the joyful baptism of a newborn baby, to the water that we need to nourish our bodies everyday. Water in its many forms is a prominent force of nature, essential to our well-being, and an important element in human ritual and history.
The Sweet Forever exhibition included a life-size 8 x 8 x 10ft hybrid structure–an Afro-Futurist, architectural vision that was made from reclaimed barn wood and components from a 1954 wooden skiff. The structure was designed to represent a marooned, boat-like Southern praise house. Sound and video collages, as well as original art made by the students inhabited the inside and outside of the structure. The exhibition included performances by Chicago's MB Collective using the boat's hull as a stage.