With great excitement, I’m thrilled to share the upcoming exhibition, The M’Dear Project premiering at the (MoCADA) Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts at the "MoCADA House" on Governors Island opening May 2023 running through September 2023.
The M’Dear Project a multi-media exhibition of paintings, sculpture, photography, textile art, video, audio/oral pieces & installations honoring the power of the great Mother, the Matriarch, the Feminine present throughout the diasporic community. The objectives are to discuss, reclaim and restore the presence of the Woman while creating space for discourse around issues affecting Black women including Black women’s access to and denial of agency, expression of identify, roots of invisibility, power and leadership in their communities and their unwavering perseverance.
M'Dear: [proper noun] (1) As in "mother dear" an honored name for an elder woman, a familial matriarch articulated in southern United States. (2) A woman who may be small in stature but exemplifies strength and power in her presence. (3) Contracted from ‘my dear’ an affectionate term.
The M’Dear Project addresses themes of silence, co-opting and trivializing the concept of the Great Mother for amusement sake and the subjectivity of the Black female presence and the resistance to stereotypes. M’Dear exists within a context of the gender power duality of masculine/feminine, as she is the matriarch often giving final counsel and decision while imparting the loving guide of a nurturing mother.
If one understands politics as the art or science of governing the internal and external affairs of a nation, then one would understand that these are the women who birth and build nations - often times single-handedly and un-credited. One may never see these women as particularly political until one hears and sees them in church meetings gently guiding front line protestors; or governing over sacred rituals; or negotiating and wrangling for the best price in markets throughout the diaspora. Refusing to move to the back of the bus or engaging in ‘kitchen table’ talk that helped to organize movements such as: the 1996 Million Man March, the 2001 Million Family March the 2017 Woman’s March, the Me Too Movement, the Time’s Up Movement and founders of the Black Lives Matter Movement as well as countless other marches and movements internationally.
Their politics lie in being pillars of hope, resistance, reason and examples in their communities. M’Dear(s) across the diaspora shape and guide communities, embodying intersections of race, class, culture and gender while creating space to center, heal and resolve conflicts.
Works in the exhibition seek to capture the essence and power of the Great Mother, the nurturer, the negotiator, the intermediary and the savior.
The M’Dear Project pushes the participant to reconsider the wisdom, power and grace of M’Dear. She is essential and critical in the fight and preservation of our humanity. There is a need for the traditions of M’Dear to be preserved and celebrated during times of environmental disintegration and in the protection of the daily assaults of our collective spirit. M’Dear is a revolutionary as she dares to demand order and respect while offering comfort as only a great mother can in a particularly precarious and dangerous world.
We would like to include your work in this exhibition and kindly ask for a sampling of images that might be complementary to this theme. We are open to all genres of art and global perspectives.
Please share sites where we can directly view related works or share a folder (Dropbox, Google Docs, etc) where we can see a selection of works specific to the theme. Please submit links to your work no later than APRIL 7, 2023 to https://airtable.com/shrX9ZmuKFbHoKFLx
In addition to the exhibition, we will host two (2) Artist Talks centered around the works of the women multi-disciplinary artists selected for The M’Dear Project exhibit.
Writer / Director / Executive Producer
The Sound She Saw
Producer / Deputy Editor
Black Joy and Resistance
When We Gather
Producer / Deputy Editor
MFON: Women Photographers of The African Diaspora
Digital Series (PBS/Frontlines) and AR Installation
Focused on the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act
“For Us, By Us” at The Long Gallery Harlem in February 2017- 20,
HBCU’s Art Talk/Date: Kerry James Marshall at the MET Breuer.
ALTAR: Prayer, Ritual, Offering at Photoville NYC in Sept. 2018
and Photoville Los Angeles April 2019
*Multiple EMMY Award Winning Producer
Facebook: The M’Dear Project / Crystal Whaley
Instagram: @themdearproject / @tabascofour