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In These Truths

Friday, February 18, 2022
Sunday, June 5, 2022

Albright-Knox Northland

In These Truths is an exhibition of works by Black cultural producers, co-curated by two of Buffalo’s most influential, charismatic, and insightful artists, Edreys Wajed and Aitina Fareed-Cooke, in collaboration with Curator of Public Art Aaron Ott. This invitational exhibition focuses on Black artists, emerging and established, who, through a wide range of mediums, provoke and reconsider, defy and embrace, test and talk about our shared reality. Collectively they create enduring and fertile forms that stand to profoundly challenge white America’s preconceived notions and to proudly present a Black America in all the complexity of its grace, struggle, and accomplishment.

The title of the of the exhibition arises, in part, from one of our country’s foundational pronouncements in the Declaration of Independence. That document begins with its famous and unforgettable claim that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal—a statement that asserts inclusivity while never delivering it. In the poem she composed for the 2021 presidential inauguration, “The Hill We Climb,” Amanda Gorman wrote, “But while democracy can be periodically delayed / it can never be permanently defeated / In this truth / in this faith we trust.” And so, in our endeavor to demand equality and to expand true democracy for all, we must first honor the fact that Black bodies, Black thought, Black labor, and Black culture are foundational elements on which our nation is constructed.

While Buffalo was once among the last stops on the Underground Railroad, it is now one of the most segregated cities in the United States. This insidious division imposes a wide range of costs disproportionately on people of color, restricting access to healthcare, education, employment, and wealth. This exhibition lays the grounds for meaningful cultural interactions and dialogues necessary to illuminate and advance conversations on race and humanity that are essential to our country and our community. 

Our humanity, what is truly central to our lives and livelihoods, to our resistance and joy—this is the lodestar of our exhibition. The selected Black artists all assert, in their own voices and in their own truths, that nothing is more straightforward, and yet more imperative, than affirming our shared humanity. They and their peers working today provide perhaps the most vital means to represent America as it really is: complex, multiracial, and multifaceted. We move forward with them as they lead the way. 

About the Artists

This exhibition will include works by: Nina Chanel Abney, Chloë Bass, Julia Bottoms, Raque Ford, Derek Fordjour, vanessa german, LaToya Hobbs, George Hughes, Richard Hunt, Tony Lewis, James Little, Esmaa Mohamoud, Faheem Majeed, Delita Martin, Oluseye, Stacey Robinson, Kellie Romany, Devan Shimoyama, Phyllis Thompson, Rhonda Wheatley, and Yung Yemi.

Admission to Albright-Knox Northland is always Pay What You Wish.

About the Curators

Photo of Wajed in all black with wide-brim hat

Edreys Wajed is celebrated for his work as a musician, poet, playwright, jewelry designer, graphic designer, educator, entrepreneur, and muralist (including as a contributor to Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative projects The Freedom Wall, 2017, and Love Black, 2020). After establishing himself as a self-trained barber as a teenager, Wajed built his early reputation on customized hats, clothes, and hand-designed logos, all before formally studying graphic design in college. His creativity, craftsmanship, and passion to inspire people are central to his spirit of entrepreneurship.

Most recently, Wajed has developed a new artistic presence and voice in the form of musically inspired paintings. Suffused with unique mark-making and rhythmic movement, examples of these works are in the collections of the Burchfield Penney Art Center and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Aitina Fareed-Cooke initially pursued Fareed-Cooke in armchaircreative expression in words, and later photography and music, as a means to address the trauma of her early life. She has since become an accomplished Christian hip-hop artist (under the name A.I. The Anomaly) and award-winning photographer and has established her own photography and film company, Get Fokus’d Productions. As a coordinator and educator with various local nonprofit organizations, she has dedicated herself to helping young people claim the power to rewrite their own stories. 

Fareed-Cooke’s original work has been featured at CEPA Gallery, Jamestown Community College, Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, and Blue Plate Studio. 

Aaron Ott is the Curator of Public Art at the Albright-Knox. Photo of curator Aaron OttIn this role he aims to create spaces of dialogue where diverse communities have the ability to engage with and respond to great public art. Ott’s curatorial philosophy is grounded in the notion that our shared landscape is abundant with opportunities to create, experience, and talk about notions of beauty, culture, originality, and innovation. 


Exhibition Sponsors

The Albright-Knox’s exhibition program is generously supported by The Seymour H. Knox Foundation, Inc.

Albright-Knox Northland Sponsor

Albright-Knox Northland is supported by M&T Bank.

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