About the exhibition

The exhibition will take place at the James Gallery September-December 2022.

With intensifying systemic inequalities around the world in the context of a global pandemic, accelerating climate change, an escalating refugee crisis and rising race-based violence, the idea of any singular, national “we” has never been more contested. Toxic conceptions of “us vs. them,” a doubling down of “me and mine,” underlie a global ethos of racialized nationalism. At the same time, we are in a generative yet tenuous time of community organizing, protest movements, mutual support, and intersectionality. Both responses stem from the language and feeling of injury and longing. When the notion of home is unstable, what are our options? As Paul Chan said, “Is there a direction home that doesn’t point backward?”

There is the possibility of “we.” How much should we invest in ideas of the “we”? How can we re-imagine nation, tribe, community? What practices of listening, sharing, and making could be enacted across varying visions of community, decolonization and self-determination? How does our complicity become constitutive of community as we imagine it? How do national identities shape our everyday lives? Which borders are permeable and which are sustainable? Which injuries are bearable and which are not? To quote Homi Bhabha, “When is a risk to life also a risk to living??


Jacki Apple

Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.

Maria Hupfield

Claudia Rankine and John Lucas

Kameelah Janan Rasheed

Kimberly Tate

Mercedes Teixido

Hong-an Truong

Urban Bush Women

Mariana Valencia

Curated by the The Racial Imaginary Institute James Gallery Curatorial Collaborative, this exhibition is created from a three year artist residency and partnership with The Racial Imaginary Institute. The exhibition is one of an array of projects including a seminar, public programs, and symposium at the James Gallery and beyond.