J Diamond, “Pony II,” 2022. Courtesy of the Artist
Something earned, Something left behind is an exhibition of objecthood; a critical analysis of the transactional and political languages of everyday and culturally significant objects. This exhibition challenges a history of exclusion and inclusion of People of Color (POC) and their narratives from the canon of craft based on subject matter. It dissects this history’s origins and precedent as an economic transaction to gain access to white spaces.
Racial and ethnic identity influences the way individuals perceive themselves, the way others perceive them, and the way they choose to behave. For this reason, People of Color are expected to perform certain roles in order to fit into hegemonic institutions. These roles can be an active shrinking of themselves and the racialized part of them, or a personal exploitation of their racialized selves. This exhibition addresses and redresses the ways narrowed populations have been included, and the ways in which they have been asked to participate.
Together, this work creates space for and legitimizes POC narratives with depth and care. The exhibiting artists’ practices work against institutionalized expectations of POC work, expanding discourse and inserting new subjectivity into the canon of craft art. It engages with a community hungry for the revitalization and resuscitation of non-Western voices within art spaces. This exhibition challenges the expectations of art from artists of marginalized backgrounds and embraces a new subjectivity of interrogating one’s inherited experiences.