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Vulnerability Reigns: Selected Work by Sable Elyse Smith, Joiri Minaya and Miatta Kawinzi


Location: Bartos Screening Room

With filmmakers Miatta Kawinzi and Joiri Minaya in person

Total running time: 45 mins.

This shorts program includes a selection of experimental videos by artists Sable Elyse Smith, Joiri Minaya and Miatta Kawinzi. The word “black” has many definitions, yet it is indefinite all the same. One word that essentially encompasses being black is vulnerability. To be open about our complex experiences takes vulnerability and these three artists poetically express their observations with keen honesty.

Organized by Tiffany Joy Butler

La Tercera Raíz (The Third Root)

Miatta Kawinzi. 2015, 9 min. Drum beats, an automated voice, and the artist’s own vocalizations layer onto moving images of mountains, trees, ocean water crashing against rocks, and the ocean’s horizon. This film acknowledges the presence of the African diaspora in Mexico.


Miatta Kawinzi. 2017, 6 min. The artist gestures through soft movements and sings striking notes. Poetic questions regarding the positionality of the self and the environment are asked of the viewer with images of grass, sky, sand, and water. Kawinzi describes this work as “a meditation on alternative temporalities of feeling, experience, and linguistic unfolding.”

Men Who Swallow Themselves in Mirrors

Sable Elyse Smith. 2017, 8 min. Aerial images of a black body falling in slow motion are set against clips from the documentary Powers of Ten, where a white man and his date enjoy a casual picnic.

Courtesy of the art, JTT, New York and Carlos Ishikawa, London.

How We Tell Stories to Children

Sable Elyse Smith. 2015, 5 min. The video includes the voice of the artist and footage recorded by her imprisoned father as part of a visual diary. It also reveals a boy attempting to escape the frame and moving snapshots of a city street.

Courtesy of the art, JTT, New York and Carlos Ishikawa, London.


Joiri Minaya. 2014, 10 min. The artist paints tropical patterns onto a white wall similar to the mass production of wallpaper. Through the subtitles, the viewer understands that Minaya is aware of our gaze.


Joiri Minaya. 2017, 7 min. Comprised of footage from the perspective of a tourist on a cruise ship entering Labadee, Haiti, this video investigates how landscape is manipulated to fit the vacationer’s gaze.

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