Díaz Lewis: A Dream Deferred
10 March - 8 June 2017
Curated by Zeenat Nagree
In August 2012, after a chance encounter, Alejandro Figueredo Díaz-Perera and Cara Megan Lewis began collaborating between Cuba and the United States. A text message would travel from the US to Havana; in response, a missed call would be made in the opposite direction. Photos were taken on both sides but they did not cross the sea. Assembled in the form of a book in Chicago after the artists were reunited, SMS (Simultaneous Moments of Silence) comprises photographic documentation of a year through the eyes of two people separated by the silence between geographic and political boundaries. Their exhibition at Mumbai Art Room takes this book of photographs as its point of departure, presenting unlikely acts of speaking and listening as vital to remembering, recording, and resisting.
Díaz Lewis’s initial experiences as artistic partners centred on the anxiety of waiting and the uncertainties of movement have led to an abiding preoccupation with the parameters of migration and freedom. In the titular video, A Dream Deferred, a family of undocumented immigrants plays football in an arid landscape as a young girl among them recites the words of Langston Hughes from the 1951 poem Harlem: “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” The players run in and out of a digital video and a 8mm film, shown alongside each other, offering an understated and joyful display of resistance. The temporal dislocation of the two halves, disorienting at first, only serves to reinforce the long span of lifetimes spent waiting, now in a political climate that is increasingly hostile.
While the recitation continues on loop, in another corner of the gallery, an inverted microphone bangs against the wall without a speaker in sight. A precarious construction, seemingly on the verge of breakdown, The Silence (...) is Overrated, leaves many questions unanswered: Who has the right to speak? Whose stories will be recorded? Whose lives will be remembered?
- Zeenat Nagree
The exhibition is part of the FOCUS Photography Festival 2017.
About the artists
Alejandro Figueredo Díaz-Perera (b. 1991, Havana, Cuba) and Cara Megan Lewis (b. 1978, Kansas City, USA) are based in Los Angeles. As the collective Díaz Lewis, they work across performance, photography, and video installation. Díaz Lewis was formed in 2012, after Díaz-Perera and Lewis met in Havana, Cuba. Recent exhibitions include Home Land Security, For-Site Foundation, San Francisco (2016); Soul Asylum, Weinberg Newton Gallery, Chicago (2016); A Dream Deferred, Aspect/Ratio, Chicago (2015); Cul De Sac, Mission Gallery, Chicago (2015); and The Other’s Voice, Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival, Chicago (2014). Díaz Lewis were most recently artists-in-residence at the Chicago Cultural Center through the support of the Joyce Foundation.
About the curator
Zeenat Nagree is an art critic and curator based in Mumbai. She has completed an MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with research on indigenism and transnational networks of modernism. Over the last six years, Nagree has written for Time Out, ART India and Artforum, and has contributed curatorial texts for a number of publications. She has also worked as Text Editor at ART India and was recently in residence at Art Lab Gnesta, Sweden.
Works in the exhibition
Díaz Lewis, SMS (Simultaneous Moments of Silence), photo book, felt-lined box, 2012-2013
Díaz Lewis, A Dream Deferred, two-channel video, 2015
Alejandro Figueredo Díaz-Perera, The Silence (...) is Overrated, wall, microphone, fan motor, broomstick, speaker, 2015