A slogan to protest flagrant systemic injustice against the Black community, “Black Lives Matter” was chanted in solidarity by people worldwide, sparking a global movement that inspired people to imagine a world without prejudice.
The recent wave of protests against racial injustices against the Black community in America not only reignited solidarity for the BLM movement, it offered an opportunity to examine how our own societies have institutionalized discrimination and anti-black sentiments.
Gallery Cosmos’ latest virtual exhibition, The Black Story, has been organized in solidarity with the global BLM movement. The month-long exhibition is a multi-disciplinary, interactive showcase of evocative artworks of five renowned Bangladeshi visual artists, photography, poetry, film, and various audio and visual multimedia pieces housed in a custom-built virtual gallery space.
On February 25, 2021, the virtual exhibition was inaugurated through a live inaugural event joined by celebrated Bangladeshi social activist, feminist, and environmentalist, Khushi Kabir and Nigerian American visual artist, Osi Audu.
Conceived and curated by Nahar Khan, Executive Director of Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos Foundation, The Black Story is an intriguing curatorial debut with a dynamic format and a refreshing and disruptive curatorial vision.
“Born from a place of restlessness and responsibility, the project was conceptualized with the hopes of creating a powerful and transcendental body of work that offers equality in representation and a diversity of voices through the artwork and dialogues showcased. Through the powerful combination of multi-disciplinary art and intellectual discourse, The Black Story aims to deconstruct the historical ties between Black-South Asian communities and the empowering potential of our shared destinies.” comments Nahar Khan, curator of The Black Story.
Featuring artistic expression from five prominent Bangladeshi visual artists and intellectual interventions with global personalities, the exhibition explores issues of race, identity and power. The interactive exhibition delves into the interactions between the historically Black and South Asian communities to examine, expose, and embrace the historical ties between these two communities.
The Black Story exhibition showcases the work of five Bangladeshi artists: Alakesh Ghosh, Kanak Chanpa Chakma, Afrozaa Jamil Konka, Bishwajit Goswami, and Sourav Chowdhury.
The artwork presented was created in solidarity where each artist was inspired to create in response to the recent events in America. The artwork showcased is a collective commentary on the experience of systemic oppression, racism, and discrimination faced by the Black community; but also the celebration of the black identity, culture and power.
The virtual exhibition space housing the art for The Black Story has been designed as a Rotunda: a circular platform symbolizing equality, solidarity, and a sense of universality that underlies the themes explored in this exhibition. It reinforces a message of humanity’s absolute equality.
The concurrent series of webinars and articles published as part of The Black Story exhibition is incredibly insightful and informative.
The webinars deconstruct various key topics surrounding racism and prejudice through discussion with global personalities from various fields, including academics, artists, educators, and musicians. The 5-part webinar series debuted on March 2 with a conversation between curator Nahar Khan and Dr. Haider Ali Khan, a John Evans distinguished university professor from the University of Denver. Looking at issues of Colorism and Anti-blackness in South Asia and the diaspora, Dr. Khan discussed the Model Minority Myth and the importance of inter-minority solidarity within the BIPOC communities.
In tandem with the webinars and the ongoing exhibit, the exhibition also publishes a series of articles introducing and exploring topics relevant to the discourse surrounding racism through a South Asian lens. The pieces have explored Colour-blindness, Colourism, the forgotten history of Afro-South Asian communities, and Unconscious Bias so far. The articles act as a resource for audiences to learn more about these issues in their journey of exploring The Black Story.
“The evolution of this exhibition has been profoundly transformative for me on a personal and professional level,” says Nahar Khan. “My hope is that this work will create a space for continued efforts to engage in meaningful dialogue around issues of race, identity and power as we explore our past, examine our present, and imagine our future.”
“The exhibition entitled The Black Story will stand as an incontrovertible evidence that many of the debates around race, violence, injustice and discrimination centering around Black Movement have been left unconfronted for far too long. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the opening of the exhibition, it’s cross-disciplinary approach that encompasses the art, sound, video, photography, live talk shows and performances will make this event a unique initiative by Gallery Cosmos, conceived and curated by Nahar Khan. Cosmos Foundation is delighted to support the Black Story.”commented Enayetullah Khan, Chairman of Cosmos Foundation
Supported by the Cosmos Foundation, the exhibition is a part of Gallery Cosmos’ mission to support artistic activities such as visual arts exhibitions, interactive discussions & dialogue, workshops and art camps that drive the exchange of ideas and information through art. Proceeds from The Black Story are set to go towards BIPOC-CA (Black & Indigenous People of Colour Creative Association).