Curating Now: Ali Rosa-Salas and Dyani Douze’s MAMI is “For Us By Us (FUBU)”
August 3, 2016
Danspace Project Curatorial Fellow Jaime Shearn Coan reached out to Ali Rosa-Salas and Dyani Douze about their exciting new curatorial project, MAMI. Emerging curator, creator, and performer Rosa-Salas is currently enrolled as a MA student in Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) Program. Douze’s work traverses many disciplines; she is an artist, DJ, musician, sound designer, and filmmaker. MAMI is a visual art exhibition and program series curated by Dyani Douze and Ali Rosa-Salas, to be presented at New York City’s Knockdown Center from August 6 to September 5, 2016.
Jaime Shearn Coan: You’ve said, “Our philosophy is FUBU: for us, by us.” The “us” that you refer to points to a shared female-identified African diasporic identification. In your language, you also emphasize hybridity and otherness within this location. Is there a connection between the content and scope of MAMI (including your choice to bridge performance, visual art, market, etc.) and this hybrid location?
MAMI: Mami Wata’s mystifying multiplicity is at the center of this project. As a spiritual and global cultural figure, their significance is thickly layered with convergences and contradictions that don’t seemingly fit well with one another, but manage to do so. As womxn of African descent, Mami Wata’s duality resonated with us because we know we are similarly in the perpetual state of becoming. We aim to safely embody liminality in a hostile, bifurcated world. The ethos of the project is “FUBU” because we want to centralize how womxn of African descent have always been coalition building across disciplines, generations, throughout New York City//tri-state area//country//globe. So really, we’re interested in how an exhibition can be less of just a passive presentation of work but rather an environment that grounds a network of support within which the art is thoughtfully activated through live activity.
JSC: Have other curatorial models frustrated you or demonstrated shortcomings/blindspots/willful exclusion in their approach? Have any curatorial models inspired/influenced you? What are the particular goals and benefits of FUBU-style curation?
MAMI: Hierarchies are destructive, and we’re not invested in equalizing our roles as curators with having supreme authority. For this project and the programs surrounding it, we have been experimenting with chain curatorial strategies. How can we centralize our many narratives while dispersing power as far and wide as possible? How can we let go?
Learn more about the project at MAMI’s indigogo page.