MCA Chicago

Photo by Bethanie Hines

The first thing you notice is his skin.
If it were soil, his is the earth brown you’d want to sow in.
A Chicago son, hard times, he does not blink.
So think of this brother brown, now see this mother black.
See how dark the day becomes when you bury the son?
—Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Oakland-based spoken word and dance artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Chicago-based visual artist and activist Theaster Gates collaborate to create a multimedia performance and visual installation addressing environmental issues from the perspective of communities of color. The performance, red, black and GREEN: a blues (rbGb), is presented at MCA Stage, April 12–14. The visual installation, a stage set created by Gates titled The Colored Museum, will be open for museum visitors to explore during the performance week. Over the coming weeks, visit this blog to explore ideas of community, the environment, and art through interviews, videos, images, and interactions with Bamuthi and Gates.

We invite you to answer the questions Bamuthi raises in his work: “What sustains life in your community?” and “What is your relationship to life in Chicago?” Our guest bloggers will include Kate Dumbleton from Chicago Jazz Ensemble along with community partners Jacinda Bullie from Kuumba Lynx, Mike Hawkins from YOUmedia, and Robbie Q from Young Chicago Authors. Additional perspectives come from our presenting partner MAPP International’s Emily Harney in addition to MCA voices including Curator Naomi Beckwith; Curatorial Assistant Stephen Bridges; Performance Programs Intern Eboni Senai Hawkins; and Carron Little, one of the Lead Artists of the MCA’s teen program The Creative Agency.

In the meantime, enjoy this video introduction to the project by MAPP International Productions: