Harlem has always felt like my home away from home. And since my first visit there ten years ago, The Studio Museum in Harlem has been central to that feeling.
I first experienced the Studio Museum on the occasion of the exhibition Flow
(2008), which marked my very first inclusion in a major museum group show in the United States. On that first visit I felt the gravity of the place, the relentless bravery of its mission to be present, to rally and gather the culture, and to be seen. I remember how it felt to be there, a place steeped in the richness of a cultural, creative and intellectual history. I saw a beauty that was at once courageous, resilient, and tender. I felt a power that I aspired to invoke. Seeing my work become a tiny part of that history moved me more than I can put into words. I left the Museum that day with a stronger sense of purpose, and my head held a little higher. This sense only grew stronger two years later when the Museum staged my first institutional solo exhibition in the U.S., an enormous honor, privilege, and turning point for me.
The Studio Museum holds more than a special place in my heart. I feel a sense of duty to help preserve it and the legacy of those artists, curators, thinkers, and staff who have worked and fought so hard for it over the last fifty years. I feel a sense of duty to help preserve it for the emerging artists who benefit from Studio Museum’s Artist-in-Residence
program, a residency with alumni that read as a roll call of some of the greatest artists of our time. And, I feel a sense of duty to help preserve the Museum for the community it serves and inspires through programming and education.
As a foreigner, I can attest to the fact that the Museum has a voice that carries far beyond its native shores. Revered for the power and integrity of that voice, arts institutions all over the world look to the work of the Studio Museum. As an institution, it is a trailblazer. There is nowhere quite like it.
Please lend your generous support to the Studio Museum Annual Fund and, together, let’s help to keep the brilliant vision of our Museum thriving for the future.