Joy Mariama Smith: Black Joy/White Fragility

Joy Mariama Smith is an Amsterdam-based movement artist and one of the 15 artists selected for the first edition of The Hartwig Art Production | Collection Fund, 2020-2021. Their work focuses on issues related to visibility, projected identities, and self-representation. Through their dance, performances, and installations, they are interested in investigating the interplay between the body and its cultural, social, and physical environment. Consent and agency are integral parts of their work.

Presented here, Black Joy/White Fragility (2021) is an ongoing performance installation that centers on QTBIPOC * experience in club culture and the embodied aesthetics of possibility. Using bass, collective joy, and consent praxis, the artist and performers collectively create a healing and transformative space for bodies of color. What would it mean to create a safer space where bodies of color, can celebrate, heal, perform, transform, and transcend? Who would be given access to that space, who would be allies?

Black Joy/White Fragility is a celebratory and excavational site-specific performance installation that provides a site for Black joy to be experienced and expressed. During the course of the exhibition, the club environment comes to be activated by performers, whose traces shape the installation through a process of accumulation. In extension of the work, a series of t-shirts designed by the artist can be seen and purchased on the ground floor in MELLY and online in our webshop, to transmit the sentiments of Black Joy/White Fragility beyond the walls of the institution.

All performances will be scheduled in our events calendar in due course, listed in the Engage section of our website. The work exhibited will be donated to the Dutch national art collection, the Rijkscollectie.

*(Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color)

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