The Transcontinental Dialogue Project and the Virtual Altar
To amplify this exhibition of visual storytelling and ancestral memory, we’ve invited local Black artists, creatives, teachers, thinkers, and healers to engage in a dialogue with the artworks, tracing routes of migration and artistic tradition. Local contributors created offerings for the Virtual Altar, including writings, poetry, music, and art. In bringing their practices and perspectives to this exhibition, they actively create space where Black artistry lives in an intersectional way across space and time.
The Transcontinental Dialogue Project and The Virtual Altar
Lela Pierce responds to Archie Byron's 'Life Form'
Lela Pierce was born and raised in rural Minnesota on Dakota and Anishinaabe land. She maintains artistic practices in performance, painting, and installation work. Pierce holds a BA in studio art with honors from Macalester College and is currently pursuing an MFA from the University of Minnesota.
Keno Evol responds to Thornton Dial's 'Royal Flag'
Keno Evol is the executive director of Black Table Arts. Keno Evol is editor of A Garden Of Black Joy: Global Poetry From The Edges of Liberation And Living. At his core he is a facilitator of empathy and imagination. Black Table Arts is a community-driven arts cooperative in Minneapolis, gathering Black communities through the arts toward better Black futures.
Kehayr Brown-Ransaw responds to Lola Pettway's 'A “Housetop” variation'
Kehayr Brown-Ransaw is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and curator with a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Brown-Ransaw’s practice engages in conversations of individualism versus collectivism, familial histories, concepts of gendered work, tradition, and Blackness/Black identity through quilting, weaving, and printmaking.
Shaina McCoy responds to Nellie Rowe's 'Rocking Chair'
Shaina McCoy is a painter from Minneapolis. She attended Perpich Center for Arts Education, 2012. McCoy held her first solo exhibition, “A Family Affair,” at Ever Gold [Projects], in San Francisco, 2019.
Erin Sharkey Responds to John B. Murray's 'Untitled'
Erin Sharkey is a writer, artistic organizer, and cultural producer based in Minneapolis. She is the co-founder, with Junauda Petrus, of the experimental arts production collective Free Black Dirt.
Keegan Xavi responds to Prophet Royal Robertson's 'Untitled'
Keegan Xavi is a North Minneapolis visual artist, art historian, and producer. She is honored to be a part of the Transcontinental Dialogue Project and to create a response piece for the Virtual Altar.
Sayge Carroll responds to Joe Minter's 'Old Rugged Cross'
Sayge Carroll is a potter, maker, and sound artist. In Carroll’s words: “I am the bloom of my ancestors laid to rest. My roots drink in and carry the stories and the lessons of the past, both theirs and mine. My life is a dream from long ago existing in this moment, and I don’t want to waste it. When I found clay, I knew I was home.”
Brettina Davis responds to Herbert Singleton's 'Crucifixion Coffee Table'
Brettina Davis is a mental health advocate and healing justice activist. She lives with BPD, anxiety, and depression and advocates for de-stigmatizing mental health in the Black community. She uses her social media platforms to share her experiences and offer what works for her healing journey.
DejaJoelle responds to Prophet Royal Robertson's 'Untitled'
DejaJoelle is an African-centered healing artist, choreographer, director, and cultural healing curator. She believes dance serves as our connection to ourselves, our communities, and our overall divinity.
Hawwa Youngmark responds to Joe Minter's 'Old Rugged Cross'
Hawwa Youngmark is a comic artist living and working in North Minneapolis. Her work combines her background in fine art and her interest in comics to create contemporary stories that capture the experiences of Black Americans and give a voice to Black Muslim characters.
Mykela Jackson responds to Herbert Singleton's 'Crucifixion Coffee Table'
Mykela “Keiko” Jackson is a 22-year old entrepreneur from Minneapolis and owner of Keiko’s Kitchen, an alkaline plant-based pop-up. She is also the former head chef and curator of Trio Plant-based menu, the first Black-owned vegan restaurant in Minneapolis.
Jordan Hamilton responds to Lottie Mooney's 'Housetop quilt--four-block "Halfway Log Cabin" variation'
Jordan Hamilton is a multi-disciplinary artist known for his paintings and public art. His artwork often explores abstract expression of spirit, cosmic, and elemental energies through painting, sculpture, collage, performance, puppetry, mixed media, textile art, and music.
Junauda Petrus-Nasah responds to John Murray's ‘Untitled’
Junauda Petrus-Nasah is a writer, a soul sweetener, runaway witch, and performance artist of Black-Caribbean descent, born and working on Dakota land in Minneapolis. Her work centers around wildness, queerness, Black-diasporic-futurism, ancestral healing, sweetness, the erotic, shimmer, and liberation.
Jayanthi Rajasa responds to Leroy Almon's 'Christ' and Arthur Dial's 'Eve and Adam'
Jayanthi Rajasa (Dotfrofeather) is an archivist songstress collecting songs that speak to her struggle and empowerment and ability to be, change, and move forward while honoring the unremembered changers and movers of yore.
Bayou responds to Arthur Dial's 'Eve and Adam'
In Bayou’s words: “I was born/live on the east bank of Bdote, Sol System, Milky Way. I am a community artist, graphic designer, and universal spectral collaborator with an innovative eye for the known, yet intangible woven connections we create and experience daily.”
About the Souls Grown Deep Foundation
Founded in 2010 by the late collector and art historian William Arnett (1939–2020), the Souls Grown Deep Foundation is dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting the contributions of African American artists of the South and the cultural traditions in which they are rooted. Mia acquired 33 works in 2017 as part of the foundation’s initiative to introduce the collection to major museums across the nation. The foundation also collaborates with institutions each year to expand avenues of scholarship and professional development for college students of color. It prioritizes creative communal sustainability through grantmaking, artist’s rights, and more recently, Covid-19 relief and voting rights.
In honor of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation’s commitment to community, we recognize the contributions made by many to produce this exhibition. It is curated by inaugural Souls Grown Deep Foundation intern, Starasea Nidiala Camara, in collaboration with Mia’s BIPOC Curatorial Advisory Committee—Keisha Williams, Bayou Bay, Anniessa Antar, Tamira Amin, Frederica Simmons, Victoria Myers, Minna Jain, and Jeanine Pollard—with interpretation by visiting local artists through the Transcontinental Dialogue Project. A special thank-you goes to the 2019–2020 Souls Grown Deep Foundation intern cohort, and to the artists and their families who were such gracious hosts.