Alabama Contemporary Art Center: SURPLUS IN PANTOMIME

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Date(s) - June 12, 2022
All Day

Alabama Contemporary Art Center




Caleb Jamel Brown
Rosa P. Duffy
Jaymerson Payton
Zeke Wright Robinson
Hansani Sahlehe

Thought surrounding the ontology of the gesture, for most remains in abstract space. For black folks this discourse was waged violently upon our bodies. Thus, the notion of the abstract gesture cannot be, and is never neutral.  – Y. Malik Jalal

Inspired by Ben Vereen’s 1981 tribute performance to the great black vaudevillian Bert Williams at the Reagan inaugural gala, Surplus in Pantomime contextualizes abstraction in the broader conversation of black identity. Pantomime, in Jalal’s view, is a vantage point from which to view how the gestures of black artists become loaded with cultural assumptions often beyond the artist’s intent. “The creative and cultural work of black folks exists in the abstract.” Jalal writes, describing a specific relationship to form that is “never neutral”. Through the work of five artists, Jalal explores what the politics and possibilities are in making work from a fraught and complicated place of interdependence on material culture. Surplus In Pantomime, through collage on textile, pigment on canvas, and twisted and shaped forms, leverages ambiguity to signal the psychological state of black folks, and reclaim the gesture.


Y. Malik Jalal is a artist living and working in Atlanta Georgia. Jalal is originally from Savannah Georgia,but spent most of his childhood in the Atlanta metro area. He graduated from Oglethorpe University in 2016 with a B.A. in Studio Art. Y. Malik Jalal has had solo shows at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, The Alabama Contemporary Art Center, and Delaplane in San Francisco, as well as many group shows.