Enunciated Life celebrates the 2021 exhibition by the same name, curated by Taylor Renee Aldridge. The catalog features essays by Aldridge, Cameron Shaw, as well as artist and scholar Ashon T. Crawley, and minister and art critic Joe Tolbert Jr. These contributors expand on the theories and practices of Black spirituality as routes toward phenomenological freedom, and how visual art and archival materials document the uncanny nature of such experiences.
In Enunciated Life, Black spiritual beliefs—as well as the movements, sounds, and other bodily expressions that have engendered communication within and beyond Black churches—operate as a point of departure for considering modes of surrender. The exhibition’s title is derived from the scholarship of Ashon T. Crawley, who recognizes the beauty and power of breathing within Black Pentecostalism “to enunciate life, life that is exorbitant, capacious, and fundamentally social, though it is also life that is structured through and engulfed by brutal violence.” Enunciated life, in other words, alerts us to the audaciousness of Black breath that endures in the wake of continued anti-Blackness.
The complete list of contemporary artists featured in Enunciated Life include Ashon T. Crawley, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Ja’Tovia Gary, Allison Janae Hamilton, Steffani Jemison, Billy Mark, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Allie McGhee, Naudline Pierre, Marianetta Porter, John Sesrie-Goff, Shikeith, and Carrie Mae Weems. In the exhibition, these artists drew upon the choreography and sonics of possession found in Black spirituality—the visible signs of embodied surrender, such as sweating, whooping, shouting, back-bending, and chest-opening. Through video, painting, photography, and installation, these artists help us explore the various bodily experiences that transpire through religion; they also make clear the far less legible elements that surround the event of incarnation, such as desire, longing, faith, and vulnerability.