Sounds of Blackness and Mapping Black Identities – Live from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

On February 7, Black Market Reads was honored to participate in a profound and uplifting celebration of Black identity, art, and music at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA).

Episode 49 – Mapping Black Identities and Sounds of Blackness

In celebration of Black History Month, Black Market Reads participated in an exciting event hosted by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, featuring stunning performances from the Grammy Award-winning musical group Sounds of Blackness.

In part one of this episode, which was recorded in the galleries of the MIA, Lissa speaks with Esther Callahan (Curatorial Affairs Fellow – contemporary art) and Keisha Williams (Curatorial Assistant and Artist Liaison), about the Mapping Black Identities exhibit now on display. Callahan and Williams were instrumental in the creation of the exhibition, which explores the diversity of Black Identities through the work of Black artists from America, Africa, and the diaspora. The exhibit, and the women behind it, also asks us to question traditional understandings of who has access and power in the world of fine arts, as well as how we conceptualize art in general.

In part two of the episode, Lissa sits down with musical icon Gary Hines, Musical Director and Producer of the Grammy Award-winning ensemble Sounds of Blackness. Lissa and Hines discuss the history of Black music and the ways that it has influenced (often through direct appropriation) mainstream popular music, the deep connection between music and storytelling, the impact and work of Sounds of Blackness, and much more. Throughout the episode, you will also hear performances from Sounds of Blackness.

Go Deeper: Additional Materials

Watch: Sounds of Blackness performs as they walk through the MIA’s Mapping Black Identities Exhibit
Learn: More about MIA’s Mapping Black identities Exhibit, featuring Video interviews with Esther Callahan, Keisha Williams, and others.

Mapping Black Identities

Frank Bowling, England, 1934 False Start, 1970 Acrylic and spray paint on canvas Minneapolis Institute of Art, The John R. Van Derlip Fund, 2018.56 © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London Image: Minneapolis Institute of Art2018.56 Taking inspiration from Mia’s recent acquisition of Frank Bowling’s map painting False Start (1970), “Mapping Black Identities” challenges the notion of Black identity as monolithic.

Listen and Learn: More about Grammy-Award winning musical group sounds of blackness

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