Solange Knowles just keeps blowing us away. In May, the singer delivered an incredible performance at the Guggenheim museum in New York entitled "An Ode To," a stunning visual extension of her poetic and political album A Seat at the Table released in September 2016.
The album is a celebration of black women in all their splendor and complexity. And now, three months later, Solange is back with another art project created especially for the Tate Modern in London.
Designed as a complement to the "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power" exhibition highlighting American artists of color and their activism in the civil rights movement, the digital piece entitled "Seventy States" explores feminism and black identity through the music of A Seat at the Table.
Designed in collaboration with Spanish director Carlota Guerrero, the piece is inspired by a photo of artist Betye Saar and her role in the Black Arts Movement, which ran in parallel with the Black Power movement of the 1970s. "Seventy States" will be available for viewing online in addition to being on display in the museum.
Featuring never-before-seen excerpts from the video clips for "Cranes in the Sky" and "Don’t Touch my Hair," "Seventy States" includes two original poems by Solange and a video performance entitled "We Sleep In Our Clothes (Because We're Warriors of the Night)" in which Solange and other dancers of color move through Ricardo Basbaum's "Capsules (NBP x me-you)" installation.
"Black womanhood has been at the root of my entire existence since birth."
Invited by the Tate to discuss the process that led her to working on this interactive piece, Solange explained:
"There would be no hesitation should I be asked to describe myself today. I am a Black woman. A woman yes, but a Black woman first and last. Black womanhood has been at the root of my entire existence since birth.
During the creation of A Seat at the Table and my deeper exploration into my own identity, I experienced many different states of being, and mind throughout my journey. I mourned. I grieved. I raged. I felt fear and triumph while working through some of the trauma I set out to heal from.
The state I so greatly wanted to experience, but that never arrived was optimism. I couldn't answer my own question, if I had a responsibility as an artist to also express optimism in the midst of working through so much of my own healing.
I decided to do this through a visual language. I wanted to create this language to help me to get closer to the balance I yearned to be closer to and express. I wanted to create a meditation and mediation using movement, repetition, symmetry, color theory, landscape and scenography, as my own individualized protest."
“I am a Black woman. A woman yes, but a Black woman first and last. Black womanhood has been at the root of my entire existence since birth.” - Solange Knowles Tonight, Tate will unveil a one-off digital display made in collaboration with songwriter, recording artist and visual artist Solange Knowles @saintrecords as part of the Uniqlo #tatelates in conjunction with Tate Modern’s #soulofanation exhibition. Inspired by the artwork of Betye Saar, ‘Seventy States’ is an exploration of visual language showcasing exclusive unreleased performance pieces and concepts from music videos by the artist. Click the link in the bio to explore the online project. Experience the full installation tonight from 6-10pm at Tate Modern.