Jamal Cyrus x Jamire Williams Boogaloo & The Midnite Hours
Essay by Charisse Weston
And whatsoever master, owner or overseer shall permit or suffer his or their Negro or other slave or slaves, at any time hereafter, to beat drums, blow horns, or use any other loud instruments […], shall forfeit ten pounds, current money, for every such offence […]”
South Carolina Slave Code Article 36 (1740)
Taking as its starting point the phenomena of percussive “rudiments”, and in particular a drum pattern known as the “Boogaloo”, in this exhibition Jamire Williams and Jamal Cyrus artistically mine the most generative phases of Black musical evolution. Born out of the convergences between Africa and the Americas, the Boogaloo is a diasporic rhythm, speaking to multiple origins, and ways of being. Pulling from their respective disciplines of the Visual Arts and Sound, Cyrus and Williams delve into the graphic, sculptural, and sonic possibilities inherent within the tradition of Black music, mixing aspects of the past, present, and future into their recombinant formulas.
Artists and Writer Bios
Jamal Cyrus is engrossed with the power and efficacy of images, the range of communicative and emotional registers found in material, the present and absent mimetic qualities of place, the divine properties of sound, the wondrous outcomes of selfless collaboration, the resonant and echoing qualities of words that eschew confinement to one meaning, the performative energy embedded in process, non-cochlear sound, the energetic recording capabilities of line, accumulative surfaces that tell time, and the healing properties within all of these.
Jamire Williams is a world renown musician and visual artist who has grown to sincerely feel that his purpose is to meld these mediums together in an organic, seamless fashion. A graduate of Houston’s acclaimed High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, Williams received his BFA from The New School in New York City in 2006. Since then he has grown into one of the leading voices of his generation performing and collaborating with such artist as Herbie Hancock, Solange, Madlib, Christian Scott and Chassol. He has also begun to journey into more conceptual spaces with abstract painting and curated installations. In 2012, he received the Harlem Stage Fund For New Work grant and was also an integral contributor to Jason Moran’s BLEED exhibition at the year’s Whitney Biennial. Williams released a solo concept record entitled ///// EFFECTUAL in 2016 where he explores the dimensions of the drum set in acoustic and electronic capacities accompanied by his personal paintings. “Jamire Williams shows himself to be an inspired crafter of sound, capable of building entire worlds from just his drum hits.” – Pitchfork
His goal is to push the envelope within these creative disciplines by performing in unconventional spaces and creating 2D and 3D still life works that join sound and structure to space and place.”
Charisse Pearlina Weston is a conceptual artist and writer who interrogates language, representation, and history through the deconstruction and reconfiguration of text, photography, and archives of black experience. Her work been presented nationally in venues including Project Row Houses. She has participated in residencies at Alabama Song Houston, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. She has received awards from the Santo Foundation, the Sally Hands Foundation, the Dallas Museum of Art’s Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough Fund and was a 2016 Southern Constellations Fellow at the Elsewhere Museum in North Carolina. Her writing has been published in Art and Culture Texas, Pomona Valley Review, Not that But this, and she is the author of The Red Book of Houston: A Compendium for the New Black Metropolis (2015, self-published), A Vessel. A Case. A Fruit, for Touching (2016, self-published chapbook), and co-author of Fantasy Objects: an artist book of text and images (2014, onestar press).