Masud Olufani

Project Title
The Katrina Suite

Grant Amount


Project Description

The Katrina Suite is a multimedia sculptural installation that explores the ways in which water has interacted with, and acted upon the black body.  Through a series of object-based works that incorporate narrative fables, historical events, audio, video, and fabricated and found materials, Masud Olufani intends to render multiple iterations of water in sculptural form, as contextualized through the African, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-American experience.  Some of these iterations include: water as destroyer and restorer; water as point of transport and forced migration; water as liberator and enslaver.  The black body becomes a symbolic point of convergence where these iconographies meet as the writer and cultural critic Kimberly Juanita Brown articulates, “The body holds the same photographic capacity as the afterimage, to infuse itself with layers of meaning, duplicates of racialized marking—the present as well as the past . . . spirituality, trauma, migration, and dispossession come by the sea.”  As part of this project the artist intends to travel to Salvador, Brazil, to observe the Festival of Yemoja—the goddess of the rivers and seas in Yoruba religious traditions—and gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which water is interpreted amongst the largest group of slave descendants in the western hemisphere.  This research will constitute, in part, an index of material used to create the work.

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