Lovie Olivia Arc Hive

The Sankofa Project

September 17, 2022 – December 10, 2022 Main Street Windows and Grace R. Cavnar Gallery

ARC HIVE : Sankofa Project, Artist Statement

Arc Hive is a living and expanding series of works on paper that utilizes biomythographical collages constructed from clinical files, paper refuse, redactive documentation, and other materials intended to jubilate the multidimensional histories of black and queer folks. This iteration of Arc Hive at Lawndale Art Center presents bound portraits assembled from files, drawings, veneers and pages imprinted with history and memory. These portraits are meant to evoke a sense of depth, variation and curiosity of hometown luminaries, Barbara Jordan, Pat Parker, Flo Hyman and Mekeva McNeil. Olivia is interested in preserving the muted stories of queer artist, caretakers, and cultural shaper’s of color whose varied identities are often regarded as insignificant to their benevolence. This collection promises to be a repository that engages with the arc of chronicled and developing narratives in order to reimagine and inform elaborate futures.

Featured image above courtesy of Lovie Olivia.

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Curated by Tierney L. Malone, The Sankofa Project is a multi-year examination of the historical events leading up to our current moment of social unrest and racial reckoning. Beginning with the people and stories that make up our own communities of Houston, this project aims to bring light to the events that have been censored or ignored in historical narratives in order to reinforce the racial oppression of Black Americans.

The Sankofa Project will commission three artists annually to create and present new work that is reflective of their own experience in contemporary America and related to the work of scholars and historians who are leading conversations on race and inequality. The artists’ work will be presented in Lawndale’s east-facing windows on Main Street and accompanied by a podcast and public program to inspire dialogue within our community.

“Sankofa” is the Ghanaian word most commonly translated as “one must acknowledge the past in order to move forward.” Thus, in The Sankofa Project, Malone brings together artists and our community to reflect upon the past, reminding us of the power of art to serve not only as the language of humanity but also its catalyst for change.

About the Artist

Lovie Olivia is an autodidact multidisciplinary artist who employs painting, printmaking, collage and installation works that engage with the archives of multiple marginalized embodiments. Her practice takes cues from the decorative, ornamental and pop arts miscellany and considers the poetics of Black historic, visual vernacular, Domestic interiority, Southern hospitality and Queer aesthetics through a profusion of mediums and methodologies. Her work aims to disrupt the preexisting art canon by prioritizing variations on cultural models. Olivia’s work further explores these concurrent corporealities with culturally loaded materials from the past like Plaster. Her usage of plaster adopts an au courant process of fresco-secco, buon fresco and castings specific to her style. Her Collages utilizes clinical files in concert with layers of extracted refuse and incised renderings fabricated into compelling works on paper and Sculptures that gesture to the archaic and futurist optics of design that when arranged into museful installations, beckon the viewer with curiosity and inquiry. Olivia’s practice is informed by the simultaneity of Black, Southern, Queer, Womanist existance and is manifested through a performances of excavation that furnishes a liminal landscape for her to explore the multidimensionality of marginalised Americans. Joy, liberation, jubilee, pleasure and leisure keep score and these notions do not relent; instead they serve as sparks to her radically creative impulses.

About the Curator

Tierney L. Malone is a visual artist and modern day storyteller who uses the canon of African-American history and pop culture to create mixed media works that challenge contemporary culture and politics.

Malone has exhibited his art widely throughout Texas and the United States, including numerous solo exhibitions. His works are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Kansas City Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Missouri; Goldman Sachs, New York, New York; and the Federal Reserve Bank, Houston, Texas. He is the recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, a CACHH Visual Artist Grant, and a Kimbrough Visual Artist Grant.

Collaboration with the jazz community is also at the forefront of Malone’s practice, including commissions to create the jacket covers for jazz musician Don Byron’s 1999 CD, Romance of the Unseen, on the Blue Note Label and for jazz pianist Randy Weston’s 2003 performance at the Miller Outdoor Theater. In 2008, Malone completed two jazz-related major commissions: a limited edition print celebrating Da Camera of Houston’s 20th Anniversary and an outdoor mural entitled “Southern Sounds” for the Coleman Art Center in York, Alabama. Additionally, Malone is the creator of the Jazz Church of Houston and the host of the Houston Jazz Spotlight on 90.1 KPFT, both of which recognize and preserve Houston’s remarkable contribution to the musical genre of Jazz.

Born in Los Angeles and based in Houston’s historic Third Ward, Malone was raised in Mississippi and Alabama and considers himself a Southern Seed.

This program is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.