Bodies of Light portrait series started in Buffalo, NY as a way to celebrate artists of color to clapback at the systematic marginalization within established creative venues. The portrait installation was complemented by an all-night gathering and party that served as part general assembly, part collective catharsis. We recognize there is an equal need for such an event in New York City, where artists face gentrification, appropriation, an ever-present colonial gaze and the stress of creating in a city where community is not easily fostered or protected. We feel this is especially urgent and are working to create moments of radical presence, during political and social times that challenge our very ability to collectively gather under one roof.
Along with Decolonize This Place, we invite artists and people of color, indigenous people, queer, trans and disabled folk to come rejoice, release, share, discuss survival tactics, and celebrate themselves via the tradition of gathering that has underpinned generations of perseverance throughout continued attempts at our erasure. In the advent of Trump's America, we reject the idea of safe space and put forward the question of "protected" and "sacred" space. The night will consist of an exhibition of the portraits, as well as performances from featured NYC artists and select Buffalo artists, followed by a revelry.
We hope you join us in solidarity and communion.
UMS & DTP
United Melanin Society was formed by artist of color to meet the urgent need to build and mobilize community via the arts in Buffalo, NY.
Decolonize This Place is a movement space, action-oriented around indigenous struggle, black liberation, Free Palestine, workers and de-gentrification.