I haven’t seen “Black Panther.” I know, I’m out the loop but I’ve been busy. I was just in Miami and Paris (not on Howard University’s students’ dime) and I just haven’t had the time. So, I don’t get the colonizers references but I don’t have to view “Black Panther” to see the caucacity of the Brooklyn Museum hiring two white people to curate African art.
The Brooklyn Museum just announced the appointment of two new curators: Kristen Windmuller-Luna, a curator and historian of African arts and architecture, has been appointed the Sills Family Consulting Curator, African Art; and Drew Sawyer has been appointed the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography.
According to the BK Reader, Sawyer will “reimagine the role of photography collections” at the museum and seek ways to creatively integrate them with other galleries and exhibits. Meanwhile, Windmuller-Luna will be tasked with rethinking the Brooklyn museum’s entire collection of African art, which includes more than 6,000 objects and artifacts.
“…Her focus will be to create a dialogue between the African art collection and other works within the museum’s holdings while also helping to develop educational programming,” BK Reader stated.
To be fair, the Brooklyn Museum’s mission statement is board, “To create inspiring encounters with art that expand the ways we see ourselves, the world and its possibilities.” The Brooklyn Museum doesn’t share the same thoughtful sentiments of the African diaspora like the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Black folks are upset at the new hire decision because we have gotten fly and headed to First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museums a few times. And the museum is in Brooklyn and had SZA, Metro Boomin and 21 Savage statues - it just has to be for Black people right?
With the new hires, the Brooklyn Museum is saying, that these two will have the ability to correctly grasp the depth and cultural meaning of the antiquities that were stolen by colonizers that now sit in the Brooklyn Museum and explain said meaning to people of color that view these exhibits from the perspective of Black people.
White people just do whatever they want with their tone deaf selves. Here is yet another institute being complicit in the systematic erasure of the culture.
And let’s kill the argument about qualifications. There is no shortage of qualified Blacks who could do Sawyer and Windmuller-Luna’s jobs. I know Black men who have started their own art gallery in Brooklyn. And what are the curators of the National Museum of African American History and Culture currently doing? Someone get Aaron Bryant on the phone.
Whites love abstracting Black culture without engaging Black people.