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In a Moment of Tenderness Exhibition Logo with selected works
Exhibit Dates: April 13 – June 9, 2024
Exhibit Location: MLK Library, Floor 5

 

We offer this group exhibition as a form of prayer to and for ourselves and our communities. It is a radical commitment to reclaiming and celebrating wholeness and our journey toward it.

— Curator Adam Odomore

About the Exhibit

This group art exhibit is about remembering, reclaiming, retelling, and celebrating wholeness and our journey toward it. The title is inspired by a quote, “In a moment of tenderness, the future seems possible,” from the book Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman. Defying trends and expectations to represent Blackness in a state of either struggle or jubilation, the works in the exhibit feature modes that allow for and represent tenderness and rest. In this exhibit, the viewer can see that beauty, just like the poetry that makes up our lives, is not a luxury; rather, as Hartman writes, it is a way of “creating possibility in the space of enclosure.” It is found within the quiet miracles that happen every day. Like a new way of breathing and existing, poetry and beauty become methods for fashioning different modes of survival, as Audre Lorde and Hartman tell us.

As a collection, the works are a form of prayer to and for ourselves and our communities. They are a way to re-imagine by seeing and recognizing tender gestures that lead to radical acts. By showing moments of rest, ease, and tenderness—alternative ways of existing—the exhibit is about healing those traumas that show up in our bodies. It represents us not just as survivors, but as witnesses and bystanders in the lived and built environment, affected by social, political, environmental disenfranchisement achieved through concerted efforts and codified in multiple realms of society.

The exhibit offers time and space to escape and to dream up the future outside of any ongoing burdens of life, forming an architecture of Black possibility.
 

Untitled by Robbie Spotswood. Black and white photograph of two sleeping figures


Exhibiting Artists:
Sara Bardin
Erica Jo Clarke
Schaun Champion
Stephanie Duruji
Ebony Marshman
Christina Nicola
Anthony Nsofor
Robbie Spotswood

Visit this page for updates, including links to additional resources related to the exhibit.

This exhibit, and the DC Public Library Art and Exhibits Program, is made possible in part with support from the DC Public Library Foundation. The exhibit was selected through the MLK Library's first Open Call for Exhibit Proposals. Learn more about the Exhibits Open Call process on the Public Art & Exhibits page, under "Apply."

Image credits: Above, left: Schaun Champion Follow, 2019, 11 x 14 in, Photography Print on Hot Press Ultrasmooth 100% cotton paper; Above, right: Sara Bardin, Flourish, 2023, 24 x 36 in, Acrylic on canvas. Below, left: Robbie Spotswood, Untitled, 2015; 16.5 x 12 in, Photograph, Printed 2023 on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 310 Paper

 

Upcoming Events

Exhibit Opening Reception

Thursday, April 11 6:30 p.m. | Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, Floor 5

Join us for a soft opening event and light refreshments to celebrate the artists in the exhibit In a Moment of Tenderness, which opens officially April 13 and runs through June 9, 2024.

Learn More and RSVP


Exhibit Art and Poetry Event with D.C.-based poet Tia Bural

Monday, May 20, 6:30 p.m. | Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, Floor 5

Join us for a poetry reading and interactive event in conjunction with the group art exhibit In a Moment of Tenderness. Visitors are invited to discover a curated literature stand inspired by the Exhibit, and listen to D.C.-based poet Tia Bural sharing some of her poems on the theme of rest and re-imagination. Visitors will be invited to write their own poems inspired by the exhibition that can become part of the installation.

Learn More and RSVP