Kameelah Janan Rasheed

  • What if an artwork never ended?

    For FRONT 2022, artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed—who identifies emphatically as a “learner”—will develop two community-driven explorations sited at Cleveland Public Library that show how artmaking can be an ongoing, iterative process that is continuously redefining itself.

    Describing her approach to this work, Rasheed says: “In my practice, I grapple with the poetics and politics of the unfinished: ecologies of Black living, Black textual production, Black utterances, and Black spiritualities. I stay attuned to generative and interdependent methodologies of Black storytelling that orient us toward ways of reading, writing, speaking, listening, archiving, and knowing that challenge enclosure and fixed relationality.”

    The first of Rasheed’s FRONT 2022 projects, Scoring the Stacks IV, will be the newest iteration of a participatory public art exhibition that asks visitors to explore their library by performing a set of “scores,” or directions, which offer a means to experiment with different modes of learning and unlearning through wandering and play. For FRONT 2022, Rasheed will bring Scoring the Stacks—performing the scores, public programs reflecting on the “residue” from the scores, and a resulting publication—to Cleveland Public Library and its network of branch libraries throughout the city.

    Using a similar process of shared learning, Rasheed will also complete a community-developed mural sited at the East 131 St. Street historic branch library in Cleveland’s Corlett neighborhood. Anchored by a generative prompt, such as ‘Tomorrow there will be ______’, the group project will invite responses as infinite endings to a single sentence. Rather than content, the artist will provide a process and protocol for engagement, elevating the voices of young people who are not regularly invited to shape civic futures. Rasheed will then translate the collected responses into unique correlating typefaces, creating a mural that is not merely a gesture of collaboration, but a visual showcase of communal authorship and a site for ongoing public expression.

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