You Do Not Disappear
Friday, March 30th, 2018
First Presbyterian Church of Seattle
A one night only art show featuring the art of Barry Johnson, Naima Lowe, Anne de Marcken, Serrah Russell, and Hanita Schwartz, curated by Gabriel Molinaro.
CURATORIAL STATEMENT by Gabriel Molinaro
Every year, Good Friday invites observers to reflect on the experience of obstruction, obfuscation, covering over and covering up; the kind that happens to us, and the kind we do to ourselves. The kind that takes time, like the blurring along the edges of a memory, or the sudden, like a family member ripped away from us by violence. Good Friday invites observers to contemplate erasure, a word which came to life in the academy, referencing the tendency of ideologies or religions to dismiss inconvenient facts. It was then adopted by communities of color to highlight the systematic silencing of their lives and stories by white supremacist, patriarchal and capitalist power structures.* Later, the word was extended to other communities marginalized because of gender, sexual orientation, class, or body type.
Those who observe Good Friday as the central narrative of their religion face the inconvenient truth that the historical church has often not only contributed to the erasure and oppression of these groups but instigated it. Beautiful architecture centering around the image of a suffering Jesus has been used to bar those who bear the closest resemblance to that historical Jesus. One cannot truly listen then to the narrative of Good Friday without first listening well to the contemporary narratives of erasure around race, gender, sexual orientation, class or body-type.
These interlocking narratives beckon us to not only bring to light the act of erasure itself, but consider what comes after erasure; the remnants that remain, the hints of color, of memory, as light pouring through cracks. They call us to question the finality or potency of erasure, like the words of Alice Notley, embedded in a poem called “City of Tingling”:
i couldn't break that much, what is can't be that broken. our imagination's often / full of lies. / has never been that broken dissolve into the dark ring and find that you / dont break / you don't even disappear. you are carried peacefully backwards to / the fact that you don't disappear.
*Fighting Erasure, “The New York Times Magazine”. Parul Sehgal. Feb 2, 2016.