Andrew Jankowski

Editor’s note: The following are photos from three exhibits at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Art Festival (TBA), running now through October 3. Find more of the Mercury’s TBA coverage here and here.

A participant in vanessa german’s THE BLUE WALK responds to the poet-artist’s call for rage in an empty field near Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, where once a Black Portland neighborhood thrived. Behind her, an adult guides and comforts a child participant while women around them cry out and shred flowers with their bare hands. THE BLUE WALK was a ritualistic performance honoring sacred Black presence, broadly on Earth but specific to areas where Black people are still displaced, threatening their futures. Andrew Jankowski

A participant lays in dry grass in response to vanessa german’s call for tenderness, wearing a blue dress covered in blue roses, holding red and orange flowers in her hands. THE BLUE WALK was half an hour of catharsis as Black femmes interpreting the same blue shade, grounding themselves, exercising feelings from love and rage to playfulness and power. Andrew Jankowski

An audience member documents vanessa german’s THE BLUE WALK on a phone. Black femmes embrace one another in a prayer-like circle after adorning the sole tree in an otherwise empty field with flowers. THE BLUE WALK felt sanctified to witness, reminding us that all empty fields near parking lots are holy terrain. The participants in THE BLUE WALK (in no particular order): Lisa Jarrett, Shannon Funchess, Ashley Stull Meyers, Eugenie Fontana, Vaughn Kimmons, Alagia Felix, Intisar Abioto, Midnight Seed Abioto, Ni Abioto, Oluyinka Akinjiola, Alma Akinjiola, and Ayo Akinjiola. Andrew Jankowski

The artist, poet, and activist vanessa german stayed after THE BLUE WALK formally concluded to continue the exercise with Black audience members. As she had throughout the evening, german instructed people to find the earth and sky, and asked them if they were in their power. Andrew Jankowski

Cooley Gallery director Stephanie Snyder leads a socially distant exhibition tour of Portraiture’s Breaking, curated by the No Face No Case Collective at Reed College. Snyder provides context for Yasumasa Morimura’s Psychoborg 18 (1994), Ann Hamilton’s untitled (2002), and Catherine Opie’s Daddy Mark and Irwin (1994). Snyder elaborated on Hamilton’s methodology: exposing film reel placed in her mouth, reimagining what a camera could be. Andrew Jankowski

Snyder discusses Morimura’s self-made characters while she and participants stand beside lifesize Polaroid photographs by Catherine Opie of legendary queer performance artist Ron Athey: Sebastian (from Martyrs and Saints) (2000) and Pearl Necklace (from Trojan Whore) (2000), as well as Georgeanne Deen’s If I’m Possessed (1998). NFNCC’s exhibition arranged 90’s and early 00’s art about identity through contemporary social theory, including art that stretches the popular understanding of portraiture. Andrew Jankowski

The artist-activist Mia Imani leads a crowd of nearly 100 spectators from Dean’s Beauty Salon & Barbershop to Harriet Tubman Middle School. Her multisite performance, Good Mourning: Rituals For Displacement, led participants through an emotional personal journey. Imani manifested sunshine for her performance at Dean’s: daylight poured bright, and everyone had enough time to get back to their transportation before torrential rain began. Andrew Jankowski

Sounding a singing bowl, Mia Imani leads an Abramović-like gazing ritual for participants at Harriet Tubman Middle School in her multisite performance Good Mourning: Rituals For Displacement. Strangers gazed into one another’s eyes for several minutes in an exercise meant to heal each of our inner middle schoolers —or, for the actual children in attendance, to fortify them for the years to come, that they don’t have their elders’ shitty junior high experiences. Andrew Jankowski

Mia Imani led participants to the field where vanessa german’s THE BLUE WALK took place days earlier. Here, Imani told the audience of a Black pioneer named Sarah who settled and bought land in 19th century Portland, land that belonged to Indigenous Multnomah tribes. Good Mourning explored different facets of grief and loss without feeling funereal, though here Imani at times fought tears when retelling Sarah’s story. Andrew Jankoswki