of Joy and Freedom
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson with
Cara Mumford and Amanda Strong,
Vaimoana Niumeitolu and Kyle Goen,
and Tricia Hersey
Jan 31, 2020-Jan 2, 2021
Installation view: Temporary Spaces of Joy and Freedom. moCa Cleveland, 2020. Photo: Field Studio.
“Historically Indigenous and Black artists have been visionaries in our struggles and movements. They have also affirmed our presence—created temporary spaces of joy and freedom, and enabled me to go on. In the academy I think about things, and lecture about things, but in performance I can set up space together with an audience to share something different. I really liked creating these islands of freedom, little glimpses of freedom where we stand together and we get to feel, just for a second maybe, what freedom might be like, and to get that feeling into our bones. These spaces open up different possibilities. These spaces are not just spaces of refusal, they are also generative. They are also spaces of joy and possibility.”—Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
The group exhibition Temporary Spaces of Joy and Freedom honors the discussion that artist and scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Canadian poet and scholar Dionne Brand forged in their 2018 article of the same title* reflecting on colonialism, anti-Blackness, Indigenous and Black liberation struggles, and the importance of ephemeral expressions and the arts in creating freedom. Featuring the work of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson with Cara Mumford and Amanda Strong, Vaimoana Niumeitolu and Kyle Goen, John Edmonds, and Tricia Hersey. Temporary Spaces of Joy and Freedom continues the article’s vision by spotlighting artists whose work and practices refuse dispossession and foster generative modes that center and nourish Indigenous and Black life. Working across performance, video, photography, and sculpture, these artists celebrate dynamic modes of connection and soulful regeneration.
Organized by La Tanya S. Autry, moCa’s Gund Curatorial Fellow, Temporary Spaces of Joy and Freedom is the prologue of a longer conversation at moCa that explores how artists create liberatory futures. The next chapter Imagine Otherwise will unfold February 19–June 27, 2021.
*Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Dionne Brand, “Temporary Spaces of Joy and Freedom,” Literary Review of Canada, 26, (5), June 2018.