— Past solo, group and collaborative exhibitions + installations
In August 2016, Me and Digital Storyteller Addam Davis-McGee were selected by Winona State University to present our collaborative art installation, Address+Reject, to their Dance department and allow students to respond to the artworks through coordinated and freestyle movement.
Address+Reject was a presentation which position two artists to engage, respond and create through multidisciplinary collaboration. This exhibition challenges viewers to engage in current social, political, and cultural issues, thereby encouraging meaningful and radical dialogue. It is also an exploration in duality; of stillness and movement, silence and sound, black and white, reaction and relaxation.
Somewhere in between the opposing values lies a version of reality. It is the grey area that the mainstream media, social media and print media rarely represent. This grey space is explored and ventured into by these two artists. They create a kind of call and response ; which in itself is rich with the history of African diasporic culture. Call and response has historically been used in rituals, religious gatherings, political or democratic debates, civic engagements and, most notably, music.
Art is an alternative form of communication. As a curator, it is my intention to demonstrate new ways in which artists can activate gallery spaces, communities, and academic spaces by inciting intimate collaborations for dialogue, thought and response. - Jovan C. Speller (August 2016)
This is a recap of my opening ceremony of the installation in the Carraige House of Casket Arts in the Northeast region of Minneapolis.
On July 13th, 2013, George Zimmerman was pronounced "not guilty" of the murder of Trayvon Martin. A whole year later, I was approached by the Minneapolis non-profit, Youthprise, to develop an artist-in-residency program that would include displaying photographs I took at last year's protests in Harlem and Union Square in a gallery showcase that would connect the issue of youth violence, community activism, and the arts.
The photo installation, "Trayvon: On The Dawn Of Freedom," was intended to raise questions about violence and youth of color in the US, particularly on how a community can respond to crises and ways to address the structural issues that allow for environmental instability to occur in these communities. Using Trayvon as a context to discuss these issues within, the gallery was made to be an interactive, safe space for the people of St. Paul and Minneapolis to converse on these issues, regardless their close or distant proximity to these communities.