COTTON: THE SOFT, DANGEROUS BEAUTY OF THE PAST evokes the remembering, feeling, and sense of wonder in African American ancestral strategies of survival. It includes approximately 35 photographs, 1 installation, and an altar, while featuring the little-known history of slavery in New York City. COTTON is timely as countless African Americans are losing their lives in an era fraught with politically sanctioned white supremacy and the careless attitude that black lives really do not matter. Thus, the exhibition encourages contemporary African Americans that we must move forward with the same courage and determination of our ancestors.
Exhibition at the Martin Mullen Art Gallery, SUNY Oneonta Fine Arts Center and the African American Museum of Philadelphia
Documentary video of a collaboration by John Dowell, with choreographer and director Kareem B. Goodwin. Assisted by Channel Kane, featuring SUNY Oneonta Dancers.
Sound by John Dowell and Kareem B. Goodwin.
Performed in the Martin-Mullen Art Gallery, January 25, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition COTTON, by John Dowell.
Dancers: Sabrina Noti, Nicole Catapano, Meghan Cassidy, Amanda Murphy, Alexandra Gardner, Abigail Haviland, Jenna Snide, and Sezlyn Petersen.
There are stories
I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t
I saw tomorrow, yesterday
Missing a leg
I danced all night
When I see cotton, I see red
We know it
We’ve felt it
We think we’ve seen it
It has changed landscapes
It has changed countries
It has transplanted people
With its beauty, it conjures the continuum
The past, present, and the hoped for future
And it is BEAUTIFUL