‘Digital Legacies 2.0’ Honors the Cultural Impact of Black Women and Nonbinary People

A screenshot from ‘teatro hacker sem cortes para cyberiun,’ (2017) by the artist biarritzzz. Mare Residency / YouTube

Since the pandemic began, digital exhibitions have become a cornerstone for galleries and artists who would otherwise be unable to present their work to the public. While online showcases have allowed digital art to become a more saturated space, a guaranteed standout is “Digital Legacies 2.0” curated by Tiffany Auttrianna Ward. The exhibit shines a spotlight on Black women and non-binary artists creating work in the space between new media and textile art. The exhibition debuted on Wednesday at noon and it includes work that both inspires and halts the viewer mid-scroll.

“As a Black woman in America you are always wearing a mask,” the narrator intones in the short film Remembering Her Homecoming (2018) by Nastassja Swift. “If I say this, will I be too Black? Will they like me? Will they hire me? Will they fight me? Will they kill me?”

In the video, Black women wearing giant white masks join hands in a circle and dance. In Woke Olympics (2018) by Qualeasha Wood, a woven blanket that also features laser-cut wood, an accusatory question prompts the audience: “black women died for your sins so you could be woke on the internet?”

“We looked to ways that Black women and non-binary artists are digitally building archives of our resistance, existence, and heritage,” the exhibition’s official statement reads. “These artists ask, what does it mean to craft our own legacies? What does it mean to honor the legacy of Black women and nonbinary people as the blueprint and authors of our cultural legacies?”

One of the most mesmerizing pieces is a digital video called The Beginning of a Deep Breathe, (2021) by asha holmes. In the piece, a smiling woman stares out at the camera, looking sweetly expectant and beautiful. In the background, grey patterns contract and expand, evoking the effects of an acid trip. You could be staring at someone from the past, but you could also be looking into the future. ‘Digital Legacies 2.0’ Honors the Cultural Impact of Black Women and Nonbinary People