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Tacoma Art Museum celebrates the power and richness of Blackness in new exhibition
C. Davida Ingram, Procession from the video diptych The Deeps: Go Away from My Window, 2014. Video still, Dimensions variable. Cinematography and editing, Inye Wokoma; drone footage, Marcus "Exo" Anderson. Tacoma Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds from Greg Kucera, 2017.20.

TACOMA, WA.- Tacoma Art Museum opened its summer exhibition To Sing of Beauty, which focuses on the power, beauty, and richness of Blackness. To Sing of Beauty: Paul Stephen Benjamin and C. Davida Ingram features video installations by Northwest artist C. Davida Ingram and Atlanta-based Paul Stephen Benjamin.

“We are thrilled to exhibit our new acquisition of Davida Ingram’s video,” shared David F. Setford, TAM’s Executive Director. “To Sing of Beauty brings together our exhibition and collection goals of representing our vital and diverse communities. Artists like Ingram and Benjamin demonstrate the highest accomplishments of regional artists.”

Both Ingram and Benjamin celebrate Black women artists in their new work. Employing the format of a video diptych, Ingram features her collaborators, composer and vocalist Hanna Benn and actress Rachael Ferguson, in The Deeps: Go Away from My Window. She pairs this with Procession that conjures a sense of the African American Northern Migration via railway with the shifting landscape of contemporary Seattle. For Procession, Ingram brought together her circle of artists and performers to enact the dream-like scenes that were filmed in Seattle’s King Street Station.

Paul Stephen Benjamin generates a musical round by reworking footage of Nina Simone’s rendition of the traditional song, Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair. He inserts a subtle audio shift to change Simone’s phrasing into “black is a color” that foregrounds the essence of Blackness—Simone wears a black dress with black boots, sports an Afro, and plays a black piano while sitting on a black bench. Building from Raymond Saunder’s seminal 1967 essay “Black Is a Color,” Benjamin explores the intersection of aesthetics, power, and identity.

“Through the pairing of Ingram and Benjamin, we are able to illuminate the richness of these artists’ visions and experiences, and open the possibility for exciting new experiences in our galleries,” explained Rock Hushka, TAM’s Deputy Director and Chief Curator. “These artists deftly employ strategies to activate the power of music, history, and personal experience.”

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