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Liberation in Four Movements

Works by:

Erika DeFreitas, Ja’Tovia Gary, Amir George, Onyeka Igwe, Donna James, Elsa James, Michaëlle Sergile

Liberation in Four Movements

Curated by Ingrid Jones


May 1–July 27, 2024


Art Museum at the University of Toronto
University of Toronto Art Centre
(in University College)
15 King’s College Circle

Centring Black scholarship, artistry, and embodied practices, Liberation in Four Movements traverses non-linear paths through texts and artworks, challenging the confines of traditional museum spaces. It invites spillage and contemplation as we navigate narratives of dehumanization, ultimately arriving at meditations on states of humanity and freedom. This journey flows through the provocative lens of Fred Moten’s hypothetical query in “Blackness and Nothingness: Mysticism of the Flesh” of what it would mean for the enslaved to remain defiantly in the ship’s hold. It is within Moten’s moment in the hold that this exhibition offers a hypothetical mix of shifting outcomes and potentialities yet to come, namely: 1. Death in the Hold and Beyond, 2. The Collective Sociality of Refusal, 3. The Surrealistic Throes of Ecstasy, and lastly 4. Embodiment, the embracing of interiority and celebration of plurality in the face of a conscripted singularity that concocts a monolithic Blackness. Each illuminating how to resist dehumanization through the power of action.

Looking to Moten’s hold in the visionary spirit of Black radical thinking, this exhibition asks: what does a reconsideration of Black freedom and humanity entail? What do we, as Black people, hold, and what can be left behind in this emended canon for others, even those who may dehumanize us? Through an affective range of responses, Liberation in Four Movements activates Black liberatory practices as expressed through sound, text and film, taking up Wynter’s call to challenge dominant narratives of what it means to be human to invoke a potential re/humaning. 

This exhibition is produced as part of the requirements for the MVS degree in Curatorial Studies at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto.

Exhibition Resources

Press Release
Exhibition Brochure

Opening Reception: Summer 2024 Exhibitions

Wednesday, May 1, 6pm–8pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

Curatorial Tour with Ingrid Jones

Saturday, May 18, 2pm–3pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the additional project support from the Reesa Greenberg Curatorial Studies Award and International Travel Fund.

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