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As we are forced to quarantine, self-isolate and socially distance from others because of the coronavirus pandemic, the need for rituals of community, solidarity and belonging is greater than ever. In the coming weeks, an online programme unfolds in the spirit of G/D THYSELF: Spirit Strategy on Raising Free Black Children, The Ummah Chroma’s sacred space installation in Het Nieuwe Instituut. The programme’s ritual performances, meditations, workshops, poems and videos will be inspired by a variety of spiritual and cultural traditions.

Since 2018, Het Nieuwe Instituut has conducted a collaborative, live research into the politics of video culture, and its role as a public space for activism and emancipation. Following this interest, the artist collective The Ummah Chroma (Terence Nance, Jenn Nkiru, Marc Thomas, Kamasi Washington, Bradford Young) has been invited to conceive a physical space in Rotterdam, inspired by their music film AS TOLD TO G/D THYSELF (2019).

Shot in Baltimore, the film is a nonlinear, cosmic journey between youth and ancientness. While exploring the histories of Baltimore, The Ummah Chroma weave a series of embodiment journeys that account for the thrive of Black culture and community; new imaginaries that liberate energy, and the legacy of the regions’ victorious and emancipatory creative genius. 

These victories have had their costs: otherness, respectability politics (as a means of survival), and the violent reactivity of white fear, are all a part of the global Black experience. In Rotterdam - Baltimore’s sister city - more than two thirds of young people have a migrant background. The city has officially passed the threshold of becoming a majority-minority city and it’s inhabitants are thus imperiled by the institutional white supremacy and the hyper-capitalism that props it up.

Titled G/D THYSELF: Spirit Strategy on Raising Free Black Children, the ritual space is the first installation designed by The Ummah Chroma, and their inaugural project in The Netherlands. Its distinct sensorial language, a result of the artists’ interdisciplinary and synergetic practice, aims to provide a sacred space where to explore forms spirituality, and self-expression, Black futurity, and retro-causality. 

Local and international artists and collectives will contribute with rituals, performances, film screenings, masterclasses and talks over the course of the exhibition period, adding to the installation.

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23/01 – 27/08/2020

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam

Wednesday — Sunday
11.00 — 18.00


G/D THYSELF: Spirit Strategy On Raising Free Black Children was made possible thanks to the generous support of:

Het Nieuwe Instituut
The Ummah Chroma
Marina Otero Verzier (Director of Research), Katía Truijen (Senior Researcher)
Lauri Faggioni
Erin WIle
Maud Vervenne
International Film Festival Rotterdam
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