Combahee's Radical Call
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July 2020 through June 2021
Boston Center for the Arts presents Combahee’s Radical Call: Black Feminisms (re)Awaken Boston, a yearlong, multi-platform curatorial project co-curated by Arielle Gray, Cierra Peters, and Jen Mergel, and stewarded by the wisdom of original Combahee River Collective member Demita Frazier. The project takes the form of a series of public installations and programs that recenter the vital legacy of Black feminism(s), archives and the written word in Boston. Through June 2021, Combahee’s Radical Call: Black Feminisms (re)Awaken Boston invites audiences to engage with our histories, our present and visions for the future. Look out for:
CHECK OUT OTHER IMAGES OF THE COMBAHEE RIVER COLLECTIVE AT THE HISTORY PROJECT.
Photo: Members of the Combahee River Collective at the March and Rally for Bellana Borde against Police Brutality, Boston, January 15, 1980. Photo courtesy and copyright of the photographer: Susan Fleishmann.
Combahee’s Radical Call is inspired by and developed in direct dialogue with Demita Frazier, co-founder of Boston’s Combahee River Collective, a group of Radical, Socialist, Black Feminists and Lesbians active in community organizing and publishing in Boston between 1974-80. In that spirit, through June 2021, a broad range of Black Femme artists will be commissioned to occupy public spaces with installations, design, and digital resources. Their works will serve to amplify the voices (and counter the erasure) of Black Femme cultural leaders across Boston’s neighborhoods.
Arielle Gray is a Boston-based, queer Black writer and artist. She is currently the Arts Engagement Producer for The ARTery, the Arts and Culture team for Boston’s NPR news outlet, WBUR. Her freelance writing has appeared in VICE, Bustle, Huffington Post, Afropunk, Boston Art Review Magazine, and The Black Youth Project. She is the co-founder of Print Ain’t Dead, a radical literary platform centering the work of queer and trans Black femmes.
Cierra Michele Peters is an artist, dj and organizer whose projects attempt to examine visual, spatial and sensory representations of Blackness. She is the co-founder of Print Ain’t Dead. She supports the revolution through her work with CreateWell and the Ujima Project. Follow Cierra @earthaclit and @print.aint.dead
Jen Mergel is a Boston-born-and-based curator who has organized more than 50 exhibitions. Working for decades at museums including the ICA Boston and MFA Boston, her recent projects include Fog x FLO: Fujiko Nakaya on the Emerald Necklace, the Boston Art Review: The Public Art Issue, Area Code Art Fair , and national workshops for Voices in Contemporary Art. Mergel is a 2017 Fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership, and continues her studies through the Racial Equity Institute and the Cultural Equity Learning Community. Follow Jen @jenmergel and @curatorialnetworkaccelerator
Demita Frazier, who co-founded the Combahee River Collective with sisters Barbara and Beverly Smith, is the consulting adviser on Combahee’s Radical Call. Her experience with the Black Panthers of Chicago informed her organizing work upon moving to Boston, where she went on to secure her JD from Northeastern University. Still based in Massachusetts, she now has decades of experience in anti-racism curriculum development and facilitation for organizations across the country. Learn more at demitafrazier.com
Combahee’s Radical Call: Black Feminisms (re)Awaken Boston was made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Public Art for Spatial Justice Program, with funding from The Barr Foundation. This project is also supported by grants from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the Krupp Family Foundation funds to the Curatorial Network Accelerator of Boston.