Reflections of Black Girlhood: Necessary Truths, A Photography Exhibit/Multimedia Installation

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This month, Saving Our Lives Hear Our
Truths (SOLHOT) will celebrate the
opening of a their unique photography
exhibit at the Krannert Art Museum (500
East Peabody Drive, Champaign). The
exhibit will have a two-week run from
February 16th until February 27th. SOLHOT
is an after-school space in Champaign-Urbana dedicated
to the celebration of Black girlhood in all of its complexity.
Reflections of Black Girlhood: Necessary Truths
will feature photography and poetry created by Black
women and girls in SOLHOT, displayed within a multimedia,
thematic installation.
In SOLHOT, each girl and homegirl (adult volunteers)
was given a camera to capture images that represented
home, love, beauty, community, and what is dope?– in our
lives. The photos were viewed collectively while we talked
about the most compelling photos taken and created
“meanings” for the photos using poetry, prose and song.
Central to our conversations about the photographs was an
honest exchange about what things in our lives we would
like to see change for the better. We discussed the changes
we are willing to make as students and made suggestions
about how people in decision-making positions can do
things differently. Both the photos and written text show
what we discussed, embody our suggestions for change and
what we think is important for the broader community to
know and understand about what it means to be a Black girl
living and going to school in Champaign-Urbana.
Prominently featured will be student-generated photography
from Urbana Middle School’s SOLHOT/SISTERHOOD
collaboration. The exhibit will also feature the artwork created
at several SOLHOT sites. Ultimately, the purpose of this
exhibit is to show off and celebrate the skills of some of the
most slept on artists and visionaries in this town—Black girls.
This exhibit would not have been possible without the
assistance and support of Andrea Kirkland– UMS counselor
and a “for real” ally to Black girls, Dominique Hill— homegirl
and doctoral student in the department of Educational Policy
Studies, and Candy Taaffe—O.G. homegirl, doctoral student
in Educational Policy Studies, and photography mastermind.
To celebrate both the exhibit and the recent publication
of Black Girlhood Celebration: Toward a Hip Hop
Feminist Pedagogy (Peter Lang, 20008) written by SOLHOT
co-founder Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown (assistant professor
in Gender & Women’s Studies and Educational
Policy Studies), a special event is planned for Thursday,
February 19th, from 5–7 p.m. at the Krannert Art Museum.
Free and open to the public, this event will provide
an opportunity for anyone who is interested in experiencing
SOLHOT to gather collectively to witness and talk
back to the images and words we created while recognizing
the sanctity of a space that is for, about, and created
by Black girls.
If you have ever participated in SOLHOT please come
out. We are depending on you to show up and show out!
Know that!

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