A new exhibit at the Mattress Factory's Monterey Annex space explores this topic. Co-curated by Sean Beauford and Sylvia Rhor Samaniego, making home here, opening Fri., Sept. 3, features five emerging or mid-career Pittsburgh artists. Gavin Andrew Benjamin, Naomi Chambers, Justin Emmanuel Dumas, Njaimeh Njie, and Harrison Kinnane Smith will all have their respective works displayed.
The title of the exhibition comes from a passage in bell hooks' Appalachian Elegy, a poetry collection that reflects on the writer's journey toward finding home in Kentucky.
A press release says the exhibition "plays off the ideas of home and domestic space – home as both a place of dislocation and belonging, home as an imagined or public-facing space and an intimate place that holds family stories and aspirations."
It's also meant to explore placemaking, familial bonds, and systemic racism’s impact on the housing market. The latter is especially relevant given recent reports that Black homeownership has slumped over the decades. A Forbes article from June says that the gap between Black and white homeownership is wider than it was over 50 years ago. The U.S. Census Bureau found that the homeownership rate is 45.1% among Black Americans, compared to 73.8% among non-Hispanic white Americans.
The artists involved will use a wide range of media and "mine personal and public histories to create immersive environments that welcome visitors to enter and contemplate what it means to create a home."
To celebrate the start of the exhibition, on view through late spring 2022, Mattress Factory will host a making home here Community Block Party at the Monterey Annex, where visitors can enjoy family-friendly artmaking activities, vegan Trinidadian food by ShadoBeni, and a live DJ set by huny.
making home here Community Block Party. 6-8 p.m. Thu., Sept. 2. Mattress Factory Monterey Annex. 1400 Block of Monterey St., North Side. Free. mattress.org