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All On The Court : An Installation by Chrystal Seawood

All On The Court : An Installation by Chrystal Seawood
On view June 10, 2022 – August 4, 2022 

“Once upon a time black male ‘cool’ was defined by the ways in which black men
confronted hardships of life without allowing their spirits to be ravaged. They took the
pain of it and used it alchemically to turn the pain into gold. That burning process
required high heat. Black male cool was defined by the ability to withstand the heat and
remain centered. It was defined by black male willingness to confront reality, to face the
truth, and bear it not by adopting a false pose of cool while feeding on fantasy; not by
black male denial or by assuming a ‘poor me’ victim identity. It was defined by
individual black males daring to self-define rather than be defined by others.”

― bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity

 

Installed in the first-floor gallery at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, All on the Court: An Installation by Chrystal Seawood is an immersive installation designed to create a space for reflection, learning, and engagement. Designed to replicate a basketball court that creates a spatial experience for the visitor, the Lewis Now Gallery hosts exhibits committed to investigating contemporary issues.

All on the Court invites us to consider the basketball court as a space for Black masculine youth to express a range of emotions while also (re)defining their understandings around “manhood” outside of the dominant social frameworks for gender. Seawood suggests that the basketball court serves as a space where traditional social constructs of gender can be bent, broken, challenged, renegotiated, repositioned, and reinvented outside of the confines of negative social consequences which so often accompany challenges to gender
norms.

Featuring eight original artworks created by artist Chrystal Seawood in a site-specific installation, All on the Court offers a unique, compassionate, and compelling exploration of where Black masculine youth are allowed joy, grief, rage, camaraderie, and hope.

All on the Court: An Installation by Chrystal Seawood invites us to consider the intersection of Black masculine identities and spaces of emotional release. In an era in which notions of gender are expanding, even as those expansions, redefinitions, and challenges are being contested, Seawood invites us to consider what variations of masculinity exist beyond the gender binary. All on the Court is a multimedia installation exploring representation, geographies of safety, and broadened understandings of gender identity. This interactive exhibit provides a compelling contemplation of what it means to understand that  “our genders are unique.”1  Seawood explores the particular set of realities that often demand Black masculine of center people “alchemically…turn the pain into gold,”2  leaving few places to express joy, pain, friendship, rage, or intimacy.

1 Janet Mock
2 bell hooks, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity