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NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale presents videos by Zachary Fabri
Zachary Fabri, Forget me not, as my tether is clipped, 2012, 16 mm film transfered to video. Fillmed in Harlem, NYC.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.- In conjunction with The Movement: Bob Adelman and Civil Rights Era Photography exhibition, NSU Museum of Art presents an exhibition of four videos by Zachary Fabri. As a young artist of Jamaican and Hungarian heritage, Fabri’s work is created in dialogue with historical events and ideologies that shape our present. The films are scattered throughout the museum as stepping stones for the viewer’s passage through time and space. Fabri explores the movement and politics of the body and uses humor as a subversive tool that entices viewers to engage his work, and to ultimately shift their perspective in relation to the subject.

Me and Them
The pronouns Fabri often uses in the titles of his work are deliberately vague. In Me and Them, it is not clear who is being identified as “me” or “them”—the dancers, the Western woman, the artist filming the scene, or the viewer. As in most of Fabri’s work, viewers need to locate themselves in relation to the subject as insider or outsider. Fabri used his camera to record three girls performing a traditional dance in Darjeeling, India that from a Westerner’s perspective seems exotic. The artist is as much an outsider of this tradition as the cheerful tourist who joins in the dance. The film is funny and uncomfortable as the viewer’s response constantly shifts in perspective.

Solo Combo
Fabri uses film to record fleeting moments and the ephemeral nature of performance art. In this film, his movements were choreographed to respond to the ephemeral elements of light, shadow, solid and air.

Fortune’s Bones
This film was commissioned by the El Museo del Barrio located on New York’s Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue. Fabri used video to document his guerrilla performance in which he and a group of participants marched into various museums along Fifth Avenue. During his visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he improvised a ritualistic dance in the African wing.

The film’s title is a reference to a skeleton of a slave called Fortune, found in a closet and exhibited by the Mattituck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut until 1970. Fabri notes that his intervention in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s African wing addresses the metaphoric skeletons in the closet of cultural institutions. His performance at the Met was a means to reclaim the forgotten bones of African and indigenous people. His work questions how museums acquire artifacts, especially those of other cultures.

Forget me not, as my tether is clipped
Forget me not, as my tether is clipped is an eloquent mediation on the artist’s relationship to history, the ideologies and beliefs that define him and his transformation as he gains experience and knowledge. Shot in 16 mm black and white film in Harlem in and around Marcus Garvey Park, the work is a metaphor for memory and the weight of history. The title beseeches the artist and/or the viewer not to forget the past and the ideas that shape identity even as the action recorded by the film expresses the inevitability of transformation. Even the medium of 16 mm film suggests dated technology, thereby infusing the work with a sense of nostalgia. Fabri’s choice of location for his performance is rife with references to the past: Harlem is a historical place that has evolved over time, and Marcus Garvey Park is dedicated to the Jamaican political leader who was a proponent of Black Nationalism and Pan African movements in the early twentieth century. As a young Jamaican man, born and raised in Miami and currently living and working in New York, Fabri used his own dreadlocks as the physical manifestation of the Rastafarian traditions that shaped him. The balloons that are tethered to his hair suggest both the weight and buoyancy of past ideologies. His hair defines who he is by gender, race and politics. Yet these definitions also place limits on his identity. As he ritualistically ties the balloons to the coils of matted hair, they form a cocoon from which he emerges transformed after he clips his hair and both balloons and dreadlocks float away.

Zachary Fabri was born in Miami, Florida in 1977. He received his Bachelor of Fine Art in graphic design in Miami at the New World School of the Arts in 2000. He received his Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College in 2007 in combined media. His multidisciplinary practice mines the intersection of personal and political spaces, often responding to a specific environment or context. Zachary’s work has been exhibited at Sequences Real-time Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland; Nordic Biennale: Momentum, Moss, Norway; Gallery Open, Berlin; the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, New York; The Jersey City Museum; El Museo del Barrio and The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Residency programs include the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, and Jardim Canadá Art & Technology Center in Belo Horizonté, Brazil. Recent awards include Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art in 2011 and the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in interdisciplinary work in 2012. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Third Streaming, Fore at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Performa 13, and the traveling exhibition, Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art. He lives in the neighborhood of Crown Heights in Brooklyn.

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