The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) will present Black@Intersection: Contemporary Black Voices in Art, an exhibition with guest curator Duane Cyrus, coming to SECCA this month. A Bessie Award-nominated performer and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Cyrus was selected as guest curator for the exhibition from more than 30 applicants. The exhibition will open Friday in SECCA’s Main Gallery, with a special opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Admission is free, with a suggested $10 donation.
“The opening reception will include two live performers doing improvisational responses to the works and two poets who will be reciting a poem inspired by the works,” Cyrus said. “There will be 25 artists in the show, 17 of them are women, which speaks volumes.”
Black@Intersection will feature Black and African Diasporic artists from North Carolina and beyond. "The artists simultaneously exemplify and defy — yet continue to redefine the perceived norms around concepts of Blackness as we see it in our world. They resist the nullifying commodification of blackness into a type of monolith and do so by creating works that reify the world on their own terms," according to a release.
After evaluating several applications, Cyrus was selected for the guest curator position based on his exhibition proposal. The proposed exhibition draws on Cyrus’ experience in the performing arts while incorporating other artistic disciplines including photography, film, and sculpture.
“I have had a love for visual arts, especially photography, since I was a kid. I have a connection between dance, a moving art, and the stillness of photography, and how it also evokes movement. I adore that resonance,” Cyrus said. “I have collaborated with photographers since the ’90s, and a few of them will be making an appearance at the show.”
Cyrus previously exhibited work at SECCA in 2020 as part of Escapes and Revelations, a group exhibition of the 21 different artists who received the 2018-2019 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship. He is also the director of Theatre of Movement, a collective that produces performing and visual art collaborations and curations. He holds a BFA from the Juilliard School and an MFA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Alongside the main gallery, the exhibit will host a variety of programs over several months to showcase contemporary black voices in art.
On Dec. 2, 2021, from 6 to 8 p.m., SECCA will feature multiple film screenings. The evening will include short films selected from Black@Intersection, and each film will offer a unique perspective around concepts of Blackness, showing how diverse representations of Blackness can help to shift our cultural landscape. On Feb. 17, 2022, there will be an additional screening event from 6 to 8 p.m. of Black Voices in Cinema: Meet the Filmmakers.
On Feb. 3, 2022, at 6 p.m., there will be An Evening with the Creative Class: What Is Your Lens?, where those interested can explore courageous conversations through art and movement and meet artists from Black@Intersection, then engage with art through a guided discussion and movement-based experiences. “I cannot encourage enough people to come out and have a conversation with us on a variety of topics that aren’t discussed more,” Cyrus shared. “I have been producing these creative classes for almost 10 years.”
In March 2022, SECCA will welcome residents to take a look at the intersection of Black women and the art of photography. Black Women & Photography: The Power of the Lens, How Black Women photographers are transforming the field, explores how Black women artists are using the power of photography to expand our cultural landscape during this guided tour and panel discussion. The event will feature artists from Black@Intersection and a panel discussion led by Cyrus.
A culmination of the Black@Intersection events will take place on April 7, 2022.
“If you leave this intersection with one thing, let it be the continuation of supporting black art. This exhibition is for everyone. It’s about black people by black people, but it’s for our community as a whole. It is important for there to be a space for black voices to be heard in the arts, and showing these voices in all their diversity,” said Cyrus. “We are shaping our own narrative.”