Join Active Cultures at ICA LA for a premiere of the first cut of Ray Anthony Barrett’s experimental film Go Tell It on the Mountain. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Barrett, Essence Harden, Visual Arts Curator and Program Manager at the California African American Museum (CAAM), and Bianca Morán, Active Cultures Curator of Public Programs. A reception with refreshments and snacks will begin at 6:30pm followed by the screening promptly at 7pm.
Ray Anthony Barrett: Go Tell It On the Mountain is a commissioned project organized by Active Cultures, which traces the artist and chef’s months-long journey across the varied landscapes of the Western states. Through a multifaceted project—spanning writing, research, film, and cooking which unfolded over the course of two years—the artist interrogates the evolution of agricultural and land practices and the impact of dispossession and colonialism on foodways, tracing its roots from white settler colonialism to present day modes of capitalism and overconsumption. Barrett is particularly interested in the contradictions and tensions of American foodways as they pertain to the relationship between Black people and the land they were at once forced to inhabit and indelibly shaped. It is through the lens of foodways and food justice that his line of inquiry examines the many reverberations of white settler colonialism and the ways in which these ongoing systems maintain inequities to this day. Alongside this critique, Barrett reflects on the contributions of Black Americans to contemporary agricultural practices, food staples, cooking techniques, and preparation.
For the first in a series of events culminating this Spring, Active Cultures partners with ICA LA to premiere the first cut of Barrett’s experimental film, Go Tell It on the Mountain. The many dimensions of the artist’s artistic practice coalesce in the artist’s first foray into film: a meditation and reflection on his impulse to reclaim agency around food security and survival in the midst of climate catastrophe.
Essence Harden is a Visual Arts Curator and Program Manager at the California African American Museum and an independent arts writer. Essence has curated exhibitions at Eduardo Secci Contemporary, the Orange County Museum of Art, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Museum of the African Diaspora, Human Resources, Oakland Museum of California, UTA Artist Space among others. Essence is also a contributor to New York Times Magazine and Los Angeles Times Magazine. Essence is a 2018 recipient of The Creative Capital, Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and a 2020 Annenberg Innovation Lab Civic Media Fellow. Essence graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History and received their Master of Arts from the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley. Essence is a Ph.D. Candidate (ABD) in African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley.
Bianca Morán (she/hers) is a curator, educator, and writer based in New York and is the Curator of Public Programs at Active Cultures. A former K-16 educator in Los Angeles, her work is deeply informed by her training in culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy. Her research interests include history, race and ethnicity, foodways, diaspora, education and pedagogy, critical theory, film, and visual culture. Bianca holds an M.A. in Curatorial Practice and the Public Sphere from USC, an M.Ed. from UCLA, and a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. She also completed a culinary arts program at Le Cordon Bleu. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Art History at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York and resides in Brooklyn. Bianca was born in Los Angeles and raised between the Bay Area and LA. She is also a single mother raising her daughter, Paloma.