The Liminal Space of Identity for Residents of US Territories

{Many thanks to Edwin Velázquez Collazo for bringing this item to our attention.] Kriston Capps (Hyperallergic) reviews Successions: Traversing US Colonialism, an exhibition curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah, now on view at the American University Museum (4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC) through December 12, 2021. Capps focuses on the work of Afro-Puerto Rican artist Amber Robles-Gordon, in whose artwork, he says, “the borders between states matter less than the overlapping territories of self, the never-ending negotiation of identity.”

Seven “flags” hang in Amber Robles-Gordon’s show at the American University Museum: one for each of the five unincorporated United States territories in the Caribbean, one for the District of Columbia, and one to signify the artist’s place in between those locales.

Each of these quilted, banner-like pieces has two sides: one personal, one political. This makes 14 flags — and countless subdivisions, really, considering all the fault lines and fractures that compose the quilted surfaces. They aren’t literal territorial emblems, but like the actual flags they resemble, these banners make a constitutional statement, about one person, divisible, beautifully so.

Suspended from the third-floor atrium, the seven flags are a showstopper in Successions: Traversing US Colonialism. For this show, which was curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah and also includes mixed-media collages on canvas, Robles-Gordon set out to explore her own Caribbean roots. The artist couples traditional textiles with an approach to abstraction that draws on Washington’s rich painting legacy to reflect the dynamism of the African diaspora, and where she dwells within it. [. . .]

Yet Robles-Gordon’s collages also include references to botánicas, birth control, and bioluminescent bays, putting the personal on par with the political. In her work, the borders between states matter less than the overlapping territories of self, the never-ending negotiation of identity, shown in these works as a source of comfort and conflict alike. [. . .]

For full article, see https://hyperallergic.com/698318/the-liminal-space-of-identity-for-residents-of-us-territories/

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