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"Johnson does not consider the personages to represent any one race or gender, instead allowing them to speak for our collective unease in a climate of societal division in which sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia are deeply engrained.” — Lauren Barnes, p. 81
The 14th title in the Power Plant Pages series was produced in conjunction with the exhibition Rashid Johnson: Anxious Audience, curated by Lauren Barnes, organized by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and presented 21 September 2019–28 July 2020.
Johnson’s work harnesses the rich symbolism and histories of varied materials that have personal meaning and, at times, are signifiers of greater African American cultural identity. Black soap, made from the ashes of burned plant matter and commonly used in West Africa, is mixed with wax and applied as pigment onto the white tiled surface—for Johnson, a way of complicating associations of cleanliness and healing.
The publication features texts by Amin Alsaden, Lauren Barnes, James Oscar, Karen Sylvia Rockwell, and Gaëtane Verna.
Editor: Gaëtane Verna
Designer: Pata Macedo
Publisher: The Power Plant
The Power Plant is Canada's leading art gallery devoted exclusively to contemporary art by artists from Canada and the world. We aim to share art with wider audiences through free admission to our exhibitions, public programs, and educational publications.