AMEN: A Collaborative Meditation For Survival
Featuring New Work by Amaryllis De Jesus Moleski + kholi
September 5- October 31, 2014
“AMEN”, through supraliminal experimentation, is a commitment to the affirmation and history of all people, and intentionally inclusive of marginalized queer people of color. The exhibition serves as a re-imagining of American myth and history with an emphasis on futurity. Inspired by recurring souls – such as Betti Ono’s founding spirits: American funk-singer, Betty Davis, and Japanese artist/singer/writer, Yoko Ono – the exhibition is an open experiment with language and image, a speculative portraiture giving way to memory of a future yet made.
Betti Ono owner and curator, Anyka Barber, explains this saying, “‘AMEN’ is a show that captures the spirit of what Betti Ono has been for four years. It’s about acknowledging the power and contributions of people who are seers – people who create a life, a culture by being present, but looking so far forward that the vision is built upon a future consciousness.”
According to Barber, “These seers build and shift power, reassign and reposition bodies and ideas, and transform spaces while encouraging survival. Being an Oakland native and business owner, I’ve watched this community continuously change. I’ve changed with it. But not everything is new. The repetitions, the survivals. This is what our 4th anniversary and ‘AMEN’ honor.”
“‘AMEN’, literally, is a declaration of affirmation,” says khoLi. “When Anyka approached Amaryllis and I about creating a collaborative show for Betti Ono’s 4th anniversary, we immediately began thinking about creation stories, and what part we’d be playing in hers. The number 4 represents energies of organization and pragmatism … in Christian mythology, day 4 of ‘creation week’ was when God completed the material universe: the sun, the moon, the stars. They were created to give light and to mark time. So, these ideas of logic and creation and representation are all represented for me in ‘AMEN.’
“AMEN” is a series of image and language exploring mythological and spiritual survival,” says Moleski. It’s a creative act of divination – a peering into a future and examining what our history and holy texts could look like from a new imagined perspective. I’m thinking about queer futures, femme futures, brown futures … we need survival stories too. Our survival in the future is vital to the integrity of our planet. And it has always been that way.