Nafis White
Black Gold
Through my work I explore issues of politics, identity, race and landscape, using personal narratives to lead and direct the conversation with the viewer. My approach is one that is heavily influenced by conceptualism and aesthetics. I layer the artworks in a way that welcomes the audience by crafting multiple entry points into the piece while also conveying ideas and theories that emerge from my passion and love of art history and issues surrounding the human condition. It is important in my practice that I create an experience that is aesthetically pleasing and so I engage many different strategies in the way I visualize and then create a work. I employ a multidisciplinary approach to my art making and integrate sculpture, drawing, site specific installation, video, projection, sound, embellishment and book-making to create new ways of engagement that invite the viewer to return again and again.Black Gold was created as a way for me to create dialogue around the continued criminalization of black and brown bodies in the United States, particularly after the events that occurred in Ferguson, a place where I have close familial ties. When on the basketball court there is a worshipping of black and brown men and women who perform remarkable physical feats of athleticism but when they are off the court and in the streets they are relegated and treated as outliers and criminals. The work consists of five to ten regulation sized basketballs that represent either a team or two teams of players. They are gold-leafed, a time consuming process that embues their existence with value. The balls travel across the gallery space, defying gravity, evoking the figure and speaking to the narrative of sports being a way to come up for a disenfranchised people.