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Installation element:
The Most Revolutionary Thing a Person Can Do

A Response from M’Shinda Abdullah-Broaddus

Video Transcript

M’Shinda Imani Abdullah Broaddus (he/him b. 1996) is an interdisciplinary artist from Akron, Ohio. He attained his BFA from the University of Cincinnati in 2018. He has exhibited work in the US and completed residencies in both the US and abroad.

In his current studio practice, he makes work that acts as a window into how one navigates the complicated emotions and complexes associated with the specific isolation of being a queer person of color in a country that was built for, and is still controlled by straight cis-gendered white men. He uses his work to create uncomfortable and exclusionary experiences for viewers – experiences that mimic the exclusionary tendencies of popular culture and the legislation that polices the bodies and rights of POC and queer people. His work is not intended to educate the ignorant – that should/can be done in one’s own time. Instead the goal of his work is to provide a vulnerable and fresh perspective on his experiences in order to produce more productive conversations around identity politics in spaces that, otherwise, would ignore the realities of injustice and marginalization.

Section text, Cincinnati Art Museum

Pitch Blackness / Off Whiteness

“Where you stand affects what you see. Your notion of reality is shaped by your perspective, by what you bring to what you’re looking at.”

-Hank Willis Thomas

In dynamic text-based works, Thomas focuses on the relative meanings of words, using common phrases to demonstrate how point of view can change meaning and indicate an entirely different attitude. Neon, Lumisty film, and lenticular printing allow the artist to create singular objects that contain multiple, apparently discrete ideas. The viewer’s activity—moving around a framed picture or staying with a neon as it flashes through many permutations—reveals that the distinct ideas in each work are, in fact, mutable and interdependent.

Like all of Thomas’s works, those gathered here offer encouragement and affirmation as well as a critique. Namely: a more nuanced understanding of language and culture is vitally important, and it is within your reach.

Note: Label texts originated at the Portland Art Museum and were modified by venue project teams at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Cincinnati Art Museum