Musician, songwriter and artist Solange Knowles Ferguson has revealed a beautiful ‘interactive dossier’, titled Seventy States, as part of the London Tate Modern’s Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power exhibition.
Seventy States is a digital display exploring visual language: the collection includes never-before-seen performance pieces, concepts for the “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair” music videos, and an original score and performance by Solange titled “We Sleep in Our Clothes”. Two untitled poems are also exhibited. The piece was directed by Alan Del Rio Oritz, includes an installation by Ricardo Basbaum and a collaboration with Carlota Guerra.
Solange said in a statement: “I wanted to create a specific scenography through movement and landscape to communicate my states of process through this record, I decided to do this through a visual language.”
The Soul of Nation exhibition celebrates the vital contributions Black artists have made to art, across installation, film, painting, sculpture and more, in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement. Spanning 12 rooms, works featured include pieces from the Spiral Group, the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture Emory Douglas, Benny Andrews, Betye Saar, Barkley Hendricks, Faith Ringgold and Lorraine O’Grady, as well as Andy Warhol and Alice Neel – the only two non-Black artists included. Many are being shown for the first time ever in the UK.
“We deserve to give these artists their due and to acknowledge what they've given to not only the history of art but also the history of art in America,” curator Zoe Whitley told Dazed in a recent interview.
A series of events that have already taken place alongside the exhibition include talks with filmmaker Kahlil Joseph and Spike Lee.
Seventy States is a captivating, visually stunning digital project. “Seventy States – I mourned. I grieved. I raged. I feared. I felt triumph,” the site’s manifesto reads. “I often thought of their laughter amongst troubled waters and painful hardships; their ability to transform. I studied the way they spoke over the line, and tried to sketch their faces and trace the windows of their car doors and homes in my mind. I was often wrong.”
If you’re able to visit the Tate today (August 25), you can visit Solange’s animated digital display, cast on the walls of the Tanks Foyer, at the Uniqlo Tate Late. The online project is available to view here.