In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens, We Made Armor at Sediment Gallery
November 1 2019 – December 8 2019
In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, We Made Armor, curated by Mahari Kathleen Chabwera, is a sanctuary site for Black womxn to honor our ancestors, indulge in our glory, and digest the complexity of Black symbology through installations, photographs, drawings and sculptures. We are giving gratitude to the women who “literally covered the holes in our walls with sunflowers.” (Alice Walker) We are decolonizing our minds, and tuning ourselves to our inner knowing. Like Audre Lorde before us, we are “less willing to accept powerlessness, self-denial, self-effacement, resignation or those other supplied states of being which are not native to us.” We strive towards creative sustenance as self-affirmation. As a self-soothing salve in Richmond, Virginia; a city whose historically predatory practices have never been appropriately acknowledged or amended. On the 400th year anniversary of the first African peoples’ being forced to this land, we take our healing into our own hands.
In the collection of essays that serve as the namesake for this exhibition, Alice Walker teaches us that our mothers, and grandmothers, and great-grandmothers, “handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see.” We’re learning the rhythms of the seasons they knew, and guarding ourselves against the ancient parasites that tried to eviscerate their gardens. We’re taking our protection into our own hands. We’re molding objects and spaces, pulling images and ideas that are non-physical and unrealized from our minds and souls, and making them real. We’re reminding ourselves and our community of who we are. This is our tradition; liberatory magic medicine-making. We give gratitude to the women who planted the seeds of our blooming when the whirlwind blocked both the sun and the rain. This is for us. We are the vindication for immeasurable dreams deferred.
Exhibiting Artists : Ricky Weaver, Taylor Simone, Nastassja Swift, Christa Pratt, Abigail Lucien, & Mahari Chabwera (curator)
In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, We Made Armor was curated by Mahari Chabwera and supported in part by her 2019- 2020 award of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship.
Evolution of The Sacred Self at Iridian Gallery
January 10 2020 – February 22 2020
Evolution of the Sacred Self is a 2 person project curated by Dr. Lauranett Lee, Lora Beldon, Mahari Chabwera, and Micah Davis Scott. Participating artists were Micah and Mahari.
The exhibition included 9 paintings by Mahari, 1 drawing from her Negromancy series, 2 wall murals and an ofrenda to her ancestors and guides.
he burned our drums so we drummed our bodies; a developing dedication to The Vulva at Corner Office
Cruelty is believing (internalizing) that white
is the only way to describe light.
Cruelty’s not being able to picture a god that’s not white,
not being able to picture a god that’s a woman,
not being able to picture the Spirit as you.
Cruelty is learning at 23 that your Vagina’s not a Vagina.
She’s a Vulva.
“Pussy so good I say my own name during sex.” 1
My own body is a mystery to me.
Cruelty is googling “vulva”
and seeing white
white as norm
white as dominant
white as expectation.
In a society so often sexist and racist -
Irreverent to my existence,
“This shit is for us.” 2
Origin of Descent at Ross Browne Studio
Making Origin was a way for me to teach myself about the objects I was painting, and to support myself while attending my first residency at Vermont Studio Center, spring 2018.
I had been out of undergrad for several months, and needed a way of keeping the momentum of growth going. I needed to feel like I was progressing. To do so, I gave myself the goal of making 100 paintings of totems and artifacts I found in books I owned, and books I found at the library. I wrote descriptions on the backs of the paintings, and after about 3 months, I had made 100. Next, I thought I'd exhibit them to make some income to support my residency at VSC. I fluctuated on their price for awhile. They started off going for as little as $25. After conversations with my partner at the time - Josh, and a new friend - Andrea Nicole, we settled on $250 per painting. Andrea introduced me to a man she knew - Ross Browne, who agreed to host the exhibit in his studio for 30% of each sale. Ross hung all my work, got Croaker Spot to cater the opening, and viola! We had my first solo exhibition in Richmond. My family, friends and peers came out and supported me. Caroline Wright purchased 3 paintings for Capital One's collection ensuring I had enough for my residency.
VSC was magical. It greatly influences me still.