The Digital Window Exhibitions at Phillips@THEARC are part of ongoing efforts to connect and work with artists in the greater DC region. Works are displayed on our west facing façade on a monitor, visible to passersby. This exhibition is part of the Digital Intersections series.
I am an artist and Afrofuturist. Afrofuturism, for me, is an expansion of concepts that were congealed during the Black Arts Movement of the sixties. The Black Arts Movement changed the way we see ourselves. A new energy erupted, stating that we and our culture are enough, if not better. There are so many great creators—women and men, past and present—who contributed to the development of this ethos, this expanded self-value. My perspective on these ideas defines “Afrofuturism Symbology Afropop” as the expression and inclusion of any and all cultural influences we have encountered throughout the diaspora. We’re influenced by and influence so much and so many of the world’s cultures and creativity. It’s my desire to express this creativity, to express the universal by utilizing the signs, symbols, glyphs, and icons that bring humanity together. To exemplify the joy, pain, and possibilities that anyone can feel. I’m determined to do this in my own voice—unlimited, unbound. I can make art out of everything.”
Soweto Woman is a digitally manipulated 3D-collage portrait of the South African influencer and designer Phomolo Masega. The artwork is made of faux fur, African print fabrics, paper, acrylic gloss medium, and adhesives, mounted onto a canvas.
About the Artist
Multimedia artist Joel Crooms was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, and has traveled around the country, but has called Southeast DC home since 2016. He studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York and Rutgers University, but he credits his continued artistic development to the world around him. His works are primarily abstract, giving him “unrestrained freedom,” acknowledging that artists such as Alma Thomas and Sam Gilliam paved the way for artists like him. His work has been exhibited at Princeton University, Rutgers University, City Hall in Newark, Columbia University School of Law, Atlantic Community College, Boston University, Howard University, and the University of Southern California.