The Company We Keep (2015)

As Black women living in white spaces that are not open to us, we wanted to thematize what it would be like or look like to live in a Black-friendly world, with the understanding that pro-Black does not mean anti-white, even though historically pro-white has meant anti anybody else.

As Black women, as artists, as sisters, as mothers, we are cultural producers. As such we must deal with the fact that our perspectives are neither represented nor heard.

The expectation when walking into a gallery space is to find white walls, just as it is expected to walk in to spaces of power and privilege and find that those spaces are white spaces. In Germany, Europe, whiteness equals “neutral”. We are questioning that.

Wir definieren uns selbst und lassen uns nicht definieren. We locate tomorrow by becoming our own storytellers. We listen to the pain in Black knowledge. It is present in our growing consciousness.

Our interconnectedness is our history and our strength. We invite the Black Atlantic to the table.

Whether the Black women on the wall are famous or not is irrelevant. They reflect our complexity and our diversity. We are all of them and they are all of us.

This is the company we keep.

Melody Laverne Bettencourt
Karina Griffith
Lerato Shadi