On view: July 29–October 27, 2022
Gallery open: Fridays, 10 am to 3 pm and by appointment
Power subjugates. Its ability to do so is rooted in the systems a body encounters, and in the mind connected to said body. We navigate as our theorists described this development of identity and system-impacted communities. Michel Foucault cited the way power functions to control the individual body. Audre Lorde reminded us that the systems of oppression cannot be dismantled by the tools the system created. bell hooks understood that the purpose of our education no longer served our needs for liberation. In the face of these truths, it can be easy to arrive at a solution of nothingness. Since there exists no tools to end the strife enacted by systems of oppression, and we cannot rely on education to liberate ourselves, what remains? Our ancestors remain. The memory of their strength is embedded in our flesh. For those of us with connections the continent of Africa, many others have labored to restrict our access to the specifics of our ancestor’s existence. However, they are still with us. We have to create new ways of welcoming their resource in.
Call Them In is a collection of images and objects I offer to my ancestors. Each object documents my attempt to settle my nervous system as I move through the world as a system-impacted being, and as I support the system-impacted in my community. Works are grounded in expression of power, the personal, and the prison industrial complex. Created over the course of 10 years, these works form a non-linear timeline of experience and prayer.
Cole M. James (They/Zi/She) is an interdisciplinary artist, Somatic Abolition Communal Consultant and Climate Justice Activist. Their work uses both figurative and abstract images, sound and scent to amplify the subtle ways perception can collapse and expand time. James received their MFA from Claremont Graduate University in Installation & Digital Media. “I make work as a negotiator, navigating the African Diaspora, circling the expanse of queerness and traversing through womanhood. I am interested in the intersections between digital production and the analog collecting of lived experiences.” Born in Chicago, raised in Moreno Valley California, James works and lives in Inglewood CA.
See James describe Hard to Hold in video produced by The Ojai Institute here.
Image credit: Cole M. James, Call in the Ancestors, digital work printed on vinyl, 40 x 50 inches. Courtesy of the artist.