notes towards becoming a spill
March 7 – April 21, 2019

On March 7th, 2019 Atlanta Contemporary (Atlanta, GA) opened Shikeith’s installation, “notes towards becoming a spill”. This is Shikeith’s first solo exhibition in Atlanta, and is the first time this work has been shown publicly. The sound based installation is presented by Atlanta Contemporary museum in conjunction with its On-Site program and is curated by Aaron Levi Garvey and Stevie Covart Garvey of Long Road Projects.

In late 2018 Shikeith joined Long Road Projects to conduct the first portion of a multi-visit residency exploring the southern United States and lore of Florida blues. In “notes towards becoming a spill” Shikeith advances his constructions of “blue spaces” that explore the psychological states of contemporary black men. Shikeith’s specific use of Haint Blue within this and other activations comprise a larger constellation of site-specific works spanning the United States, references its deep-rooted history from the Gullah in South Carolina and Georgia. Haint is also Southern vernacular for ghost or spirit that has not moved on. Created from indigo, one of the common crops of the American South, the Gullah originated the color as a spiritual marker in their homes. Within the installation, Shikeith combines elements such as soil, mud, haint-blue paint, and audio recordings of black men spilling truths about themselves to cultivate a site of reconciliation that is rooted in a black ancestral remedy and rescription of legible black masculinities.

“The heads or subconscious lives of black men has been the recurring theme in all of my work. Owing to, there are ephemeral presences such as anti-blackness, criminalization, and the historical constructions of black masculinity that similar to ghosts, haunt the bodies and psyches of black men. These 'ghosts' have kept generations of black men, including myself, constrained to operating the world within restrictive boundaries. My art has long envisioned myself and other black men in the process of escaping and outside of these borders. In previous bodies of work, I looked to notions of intimacy and dreams...however, more recently, and with this installation, I am looking towards the spiritual methodologies and elements of Black-American material culture such as African American oral tradition and the ghost-tricking, haint-blue color of the Gullah to develop a vernacular encircling the possibility of Black men thriving in America."

Installation images by Davion Alston