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Ian Weaver’s ‘The Black Knight Archive’ at iMOCA, Aug. 1-Oct. 18

Black Knights Seal

Black Knights Seal. Image provided by iMOCA and used with written permission.

By Shauta Marsh
Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA)
http://www.indymoca.org/

Artist Ian Weavers’s The Black Knight Archive, Chapter I: Migration creates a fictional version of history of one black community. Weaver’s Black Knights are part medieval knight, part Black Nationalist – who have, ostensibly, lived within the “Black Bottom” community, circa 1940s. The work centers on the Near West Side of Chicago, a large multi-ethnic community, and, specifically, the “Black Bottom” section of the Near West Side where black residents once lived. Much like Indianapolis’s Indiana Avenue District, various parts of the Near West Side of Chicago and the Bottom were destroyed to construct an expressway and a university; as a result, the community lost much of its history.

“The works will reinforce the role of the object as iconic, a conduit for memory and history,” says Weaver. Opening August 1, 2014, 6-11 p.m. at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA) The Black Night Archive will run through October 18, with the hours of Thursday-Saturday 12-7 p.m.

Weaver is constructing a fictive history for the Black Bottom community using a variety of fake elements: handmade museum vitrines, handmade maps and documents of the community, various faux sculptures and textiles, as well as installation and audio components.

Weaver’s Black Knights used political, social, and guerrilla tactics to fight for the survival of the community.

“The project speaks not only to the nature of the loss of this particular community’s history, but also to the larger concept of how we, as individuals, communities and societies construct our own narratives, identities, and memories through our commemorations,” says Weaver.  “These histories tell stories that occupy specific time periods, but (because of the subjective nature of memory and history) also travel backward and forward into and out of our own time.”

The first chapter commission by iMOCA in this installment will explore the migration of the Black Knights to Black Bottom, U.S.A.

The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 1043 Virginia Avenue in Fountain Square. For more information, visit http://www.indymoca.org/, or call 317-634-6622.

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Ian Weaver (b. 1970) is a Chicago-based visual artist and Instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in the Painting and Drawing, Contemporary Practices, and Art Education departments.  His work, interdisciplinary in nature, is concerned with how we – as individuals and communities – construct our own identities and memories through our ceremonial observations (“commemorations”), the objects we construct, and those that we archive.  He received his M.F.A. in Visual Art from Washington University in St Louis.  His exhibitions include a survey of work (2004-2011) at the South Bend Museum of Art, as well as solo shows at the Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO, and Packer Schopf Gallery, Chicago, IL.  Group exhibitions include shows at the Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL; and the Kemper Art Museum and White Flag Projects, both in St. Louis, MO.  He has been a recipient of numerous residencies, including Yaddo and the Millay Colony, both in upstate NY; and Ragdale, Lake Forest, IL.  His awards include grants from Artadia and the Joan Mitchell Foundation, both based in NY; the Illinois Arts Council; and the Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago, IL.

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