Cedric Harper, Untitled, 2022.

Cedric Harper: Ancestral Language

On view

March 11, 2023—April 15, 2023 | Wednesday—Saturday, 1–6pm
BCA Mills Gallery, 551 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116
PLEASE NOTE: Masks are required.

Cedric Harper: ANCESTRAL LANGUAGE | Curated by Carol Moses

Opening Reception

Thursday, March 16, 2023 | 6–9pm
Please RSVP

Cedric Harper: ANCESTRAL LANGUAGE is the seventh exhibition in the 1:1 Exhibition Series presented in the Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts. Each exhibition in this series presents a collaborative project between one curator and one artist, and either introduces a new artist or highlights a new aspect of a more experienced artist.

In ANCESTRAL LANGUAGE, Boston poet-artist Cedric Harper, curated by Carol Moses, creates an immersive environment that takes the form of a forest of vertical artworks. He shapes artworks with influences from varied cultures, borrowing from global gestural languages. Employing both text and symbolism, Harper contemplates love, loss, style, queerness and perseverance. 

Drawing on his personal experience as a Black gay man, and rooted in his long exploration of found materials and world languages, Harper’s work is sensitive to what he experiences as the ruinous path of the world in material consumption and environmental devastation. In sculptural as well as two-dimensional works, he innovates in the scrambling of language: the scripts and organic patterns look ancient but are very new, timeless in their recurrence through human history, as they are derived from nature.    

To the artist, the relation between art and life is growth —

“When you observe life and live life, the better your art becomes, one uplifting the other.”

— Cedric Harper


Public Programs

Public Reception & Curatorial Walkthrough

Thursday, March 16, 2023 | 6–9pm

During the public reception for Cedric Harper: ANCESTRAL LANGUAGE, visitors will also be able to visit Project Room No. 4: Chick Byrne, the fourth of the new Mills Gallery Project Room Exhibition Series.

We hope you’ll also take the opportunity to visit the BCA Artist Studios Building and see what BCA studio residents have been working on! The BCA Artist Studios Building will be open from 5:30–8pm. Explore the four floors next door to the Mills Gallery and meet the talented BCA studio residents who develop their art practices in our historic space. Since there has been some buzz about BCA’s newest space for movement artists, we also invite you to come see Studio 414 and chat with Andrea Blesso, Director of Dance & Interdisciplinary Arts at BCA!



CREATING FROM THE UNWANTED: Artists in Conversation about Working with Discarded Materials

Thursday, March 30, 2023 | 6–7:30pm

Cedric Harper and four artist friends explore their artistic use of materials that have been thrown away. Hear from this group of painters, sculptors, and textile artists in talks about their paths, motivations, and processes in making artwork from discarded, unwanted materials.

Artists: Cedric Harper, Michelle Lougee, Jeffrey Nowlin, Adriana Prat, and Rebecca McGee Tuck.