Onajide Shabaka’s video Silenced Histories (2019-21) will play concurrently during the exhibition as part of Emerson Dorsch Online (EDO), a video channel on the gallery’s website. Filmed while on a walk in the Gullah Geechee Cultural Corridor near the former lands of Major Pierce Butler’s plantation, the video documents how the histories in that place seem to be invisible, but, with the knowledge given forth by the credits, its dark pasts are more palpable, if ghostly.
The crisscrossing juxtapositions within the exhibition echo the connections Shabaka draws out, like constellations, between formal patterns in plants, and their uses in various cultures and migrations between them. He places planetary movements, in proximity to spirits sensed in the muck, to the religious practices of the African diaspora. And he accompanies these with collected stories of consciousness, grief, determination, resilience, and adaptation.