Graduation Dress (call and response)
Negarra A. Kudumu | essayist and curator will present its fifth Curatorial Lab project, Graduation (call and response), by Seattle-based artist Jite Agbro opening November 30, 2017 and running through January 6, 2018.
In the artist's own words,
"There is a ritual to graduating
The ceremonial gowns,
The external acknowledgment of accomplishment,
The feeling of completion.
All these things give us permission to move on.
A notable conclusion indicates that we are moving on to better things. Or, at least, different things.
There is a loss felt underneath every achievement. You must be transformed in order to come to terms with each new loss, this is the essence of graduating."
These images were taken in the Promenade Market, located in Seattle's rapidly changing - some may say fading - Central District neighborhood. As the neighborhood changed, it became one of the few shopping areas that still catered to the tastes of the shrinking African-American community that inhabited the area. Agbro, like many Blacks born and/or raised in the Central District, shopped there regularly and recalls fondly the various cultural markers that made the market a loci of community activity.
The questions embedded within Agbro's graduation dress draw our attention to the losses, material and emotional, that come along with achievement. We celebrate the newness and the aesthetic of moving on to, presumably bigger and better things. For how long do we - can we - mourn the loss of that thing or experiences we have left behind?
Agbro's dress is a symbol of all the beauty and uncertainty within which resides a now silent tale about the cumulative life experiences that spurred it's creation.
Jite Agbro is a Nigerian-American Artist who grew up in the United States. A native of Seattle’s Central District, her work is an account of identity and belonging in a constantly shifting socio-economic landscape. Jite finds her direct inspiration from everyday objects, especially wearable accoutrements like clothing, textiles, and jewelry. She describes the act of getting dressed as “something that makes us all actors in an ongoing drama between our projected narratives and our authentic selves.”
Jite’s work utilizes the bold, aspirational colors of Nigerian daily dress. She exposes the ritual of getting dressed as a nonverbal way of sharing cultural cues and status symbols. Jite is particularly interested in the way people project their identities into the greater public space, and how doing so influences human interactions.
To view this Curatorial Lab project, please visit this link negarraakudumu.com/graduation. To listen to the accompanying audio, please visit this link https://soundcloud.com/negarraakili/sets/graduation
Negarra A. Kudumu, Founder
Negarra A. Kudumu | essayist & curator