Meet 2024 Curatorial Fellow: Niama Safia Sandy
Curator In Residence
In 2024, we are launching a Curatorial Fellowship to engage with national curators to facilitate connecting Louisiana artists to national art networks. This is an invitational curatorial residency. Over the course of two years, the invited curator will generate a curatorial statement for their residency and use this statement to guide the curation of three exhibitions:Louisiana Solo exhibition, Louisiana Group exhibition, and a Collective member exhibition.
The inaugural resident curator starting in 2024 will be Niama Safia Sandy. Niama Safia Sandy is a New York-based cultural anthropologist, curator, producer, organizer, multidisciplinary artist and musician. Her creative practice delves into the human story – through the application and critical lenses of culture, healing, history, migration, music, race and ritual. Niama’s aim is to leverage history, the visual, written and performative arts, chiefly those of the Global Black Diaspora, to tell stories we know in ways we have not yet thought to tell them and to lift us all to a higher state of historical, ontological and spiritual wholeness in the process.
Louisiana Call for Exhibitions
Annually, Antenna Collective orchestrates the ‘Louisiana Call for Exhibitions’, which offers Louisiana artists the opportunity to have their artwork evaluated by a distinguished guest juror, who meticulously selects exhibiting artists from submissions sent in response to an open call for entries. This rigorous selection process yields two exhibitions annually, a Louisiana solo exhibition and Louisiana group exhibition. Both serve as prominent platforms for showcasing artists from the Gulf South region. Niama will select both the group and solo exhibition for the 2025 exhibition calendar.
Curatorial Focus: Genealogies of Sovereignty: A Curatorial Exploration
Find out more about what Niama will be focusing on! Read the full statement here.
About: Niama Safia Sandy
Niama Safia Sandy is a New York-based cultural anthropologist, curator, producer, organizer, multidisciplinary artist and musician. Her creative practice delves into the human story – through the application and critical lenses of culture, healing, history, migration, music, race and ritual. Niama’s aim is to leverage history, the visual, written and performative arts, chiefly those of the Global Black Diaspora, to tell stories we know in ways we have not yet thought to tell them and to lift us all to a higher state of historical, ontological and spiritual wholeness in the process.
Niama is a founding curator of the Southeast Queens Biennial established in 2018. In 2020, Sandy created and produced FOR/FOUR, a conversation series featuring Black women and non-binary persons in the arts and culture. Shortly after the launch of the series, she helped found The Blacksmiths, a coalition of culture workers standing together to forge support for Black liberation against anti-Black racism in the academy and at presenting institutions. Through The Blacksmiths, Niama has produced resources and public events engaging communities, activists, artists across disciplines, and more to close the gaps in appropriate opportunities for Black artists of all disciplines, curators, and administrators on the global stage. Sandy is a co-founder and active steering committee member of THIS IS A MOVEMENT, an initiative seeking to create a more equitable music industry through an intersectional Black feminist lens, centered upon non-hierarchical, collaborative and imaginative modes of creation and organization launched in 2022. She is also a member of the artist collectives the Resistance Revival Chorus and the Wide Awakes. Niama is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute, School of Art.
Niama has worked independently, co-convened, and participated in programs at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, MACAAL, MICA, 1014, World Around Summit, Harvard University, Oberlin College, The Public Theater, Rhode Island School of Design, UNTITLED & more. She has written commissioned work on artists including Milford Graves, Dindga McCannon, Jamea Richmond-Edwards Nate Lewis, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Brittany Leeanne Williams and others. Her current visual work explores a form she calls, “The Groove.” It is a mechanism for rest, resetting and a kind of fulcrum of survival. It launches us into life, death, and all of the pleasures in between. It is at once mathematical and a refusal against the (ac)counting that whiteness and capitalism have long waged on humanity and on Black people in particular. It resists quantification in a world obsessed with what is measurable and commodifiable. The Groove is a gesture toward freedom, an overriding/overwriting of the arcane systems of value that have never served us. Making the gesture with paint, sculpture with hand/body is a kind of way of apprehending time – past, present and future. It is a position toward light, balance, restoration, and release. Past artist residencies include 37d03d, The Watermill Center and Project for Empty Space.
Headshot Photo Credit: Candace Howe