Opening Reception Friday, July 14 6-8pm

Exhibition dates July 14 – October 6, 2023

Black Jubilation is a collection of works by black artists residing in Michigan, curated by Hadara Willis and Lillian Young. The purpose of this show is to showcase joy as represented by those of African or African American descent through various artistic mediums. Traditionally, art and other forms of self-expression has been a powerful tool for African Americans in creating community and rebelling against the notion that the “black experience” must be that of suffering and reflecting on hardships. Much of popular media showcasing the black experience is focused on the “black struggle.”  While remembering and honoring the ongoing fight for equality and peace is important, the curators of this show hoped to take a moment to step away from reflecting on the negative, and wanted to showcase all the ways in which pride in being black is interpreted and showcased by these various artists.

In part, this exhibition hopes to extend the celebration experienced on Juneteenth. As a now federally recognized holiday, it marks an achievement towards progress for equality, recognition, and a true acknowledgement of history. This holiday is a major form of celebration for black people and we hope this exhibition provides an opportunity to reflect and expand upon black joy.

Black Jubilation is being curated by Hadara Willis and Lillian Young.

Hadara Willis is a Studio Art Bachelor of Fine Arts Candidate with plans to graduate in 2024 from the Department of Art, Art History, and Design at Michigan State University. Willis is an Exhibitions and Gallery Assistant at the MSU Union Art Gallery and the (SCENE) Metrospace Art Gallery, both located in East Lansing, Michigan. She is a 2023 recipient of the Marta S. Hentschel Schafer Endowed Scholarship. Willis is a founding officer of the Afro Artists Alliance at Michigan State University. Willis is from Battle Creek, MI and currently lives in East Lansing, MI.   

Lillian Young is the Family Programs Coordinator at the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, NY. She was an Education Practicum Fellow at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Harlem, NY in 2022. She worked with the Education team at the Broad Art Museum MSU from 2019-2022. She has also worked at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC. Young attended Texas Christian University for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art, and Michigan State University for her MFA in Studio Art. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in South Africa. Young is originally from Fort Worth, TX, and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Support for this exhibition was provided by the MSU College of Arts and Letters and the MSU Department of Art, Art History, and Design.