Kameelah Janan Rasheed
(b. 1985, Palo Alto, California; lives and works in Harlem, New York)
Plot Twist, 2020. Digital collage. Courtesy of the artist
A plot twist can be an offering, an opening. Christina Sharpe’s Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects (2009) includes an epigraph from Dionne Brand's A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging (2001) referencing a line from Derek Walcott’s poem “Six Fictions” (1997). Walcott writes: “Pray for a life without plot, a day without narrative.” Like Brand, who wishes “[t]o be without th[e] story of captivity,” I hold on to this Walcott line. While I reference relief from plot loops or narrative tropes, we must also consider, as these authors do, what it means to have liberatory relief from narrative itself: to live or sprawl beyond the relationality that reinforces all-too-familiar subjugation.
Kameelah Janan Rasheed is a participant in Art on the Grid, a citywide, open-air exhibition presented by Public Art Fund. Conceived in the spring of 2020, the exhibition features 50 artists’ reflections on the converging crises of the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism in our country.