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MoCADA, or the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, is a museum of contemporary art in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is the first museum of its kind to be opened in New York. MoCADA’s mission is to rediscover valuable African cultural traditions that were lost through colonization and the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and to foster a dynamic space for the creation of the continuous evolution of culture.
MoCADA believes that the concept of the museum exists within its people and it is the museum’s goal to serve as a conduit for African Diaspora forms of expression ranging from the visual and performing arts to film and television with the goal of repositioning the continent of Africa and its people in both a foundational and central role in world development. Since the museum’s inception, MoCADA has placed primary emphasis on reaching under-served communities through on-site as well as out-of-doors programming.
MoCADA was founded in 1999 by Laurie Cumbo in a building owned by the historical Bridge Street AWME Church in the heart of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community in Brooklyn, New York. Cumbo founded MoCADA in response to the need for a museum reflective of the arts and cultures of the African Diaspora.
In 2006, MoCADA moved to its current home, an expanded space at 80 Hanson Place, at South Portland Avenue, in Fort Greene, a historically black middle-class neighborhood in Brooklyn which is home to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) arts district. MoCADA has grown to accommodating many exhibitions throughout the year that highlight various identities of the African Diaspora. The central location of Fort Greene, allows for a cross section of the Brooklyn community to gather at MoCADA and partake in the many events produced for each exhibition. With a large bookstore, MoCADA holds the space for such events as book readings, student tours and musical events.
Saying No: Reconciling Spirituality and Resistance in Indigenous Australian Art is an exhibition curated by Australian artist Bindi Cole. Based on Cole's previous exhibition in Australia, Saying No combines the religious ceremonial practices highlighted by Indigenous artist with the protest for Indigenous rights and visibility in the public imagaination. The curatorial statement is as follows: "The word 'no' does not exist in the Australian Aboriginal languages. Where it does exist, this powerful word is reserved for the elders and is used with great care and ceremony. As these languages reach the brink of extinction, indigenous Australian artists are using contemporary art to assert their identity and culture and say no to racism, land theft and colonialism in an urban world. Saying No features sculpture, installation, painting, photography, video, audio and mixed media works." Some of the exhibiting artists include Tony Albert, Vicki Couzens, Fiona Foley, Daniel Boyd and Maree Clark.
Re-imagining Haiti was a two-part exhibition curated through a partnership between MoCADA and the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). MoCADA and CCCADI celebrate capstone anniversary years and pay tribute to the tenacity and resilience of our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Re-Imagining Haiti is a collaborative exhibition project that reflects a desire to preserve sacred traditions as well as contribute to a collective vision of what Haiti can become in the future.
CCCADI presented the exhibit Standing with Papa Legba: Vodou at the Crossroads. This is an exhibition that explores the state of contemporary practices of Vodou and the aesthetic traditions associated with this ancient spirituality.
MoCADA presented Le Projet Nouveau, a multi-media platform that reflects the voices of many artists who propose ecological, cosmological, architectural and sociological methods to be used in Haiti's reconstruction. Coinciding with the 1st anniversary of the devastating earthquake that ravaged the country, Re-Imagining Haiti serves to facilitate the production of ideas and actions in modern day Haiti. Le Projet Nouveau brings together 18 artists whose work presents ideas about the re-construction of Haiti. The exhibiting artists draw upon political, cultural, architectural and socio-economic themes to propose what can be offered towards the re-shaping of the first black republic. The exhibition highlights the aesthetic response of artists to the turbulence that has plagued the nation since it gained independence from France in 1804. The artists in the exhibition used their practices to visualize Haiti's future by re-imagining the country through its people, its culture, the African Diaspora, and its artistic legacy. The artists featured in this exhibit are as follows: Trevor Brown, Nelson Caban, Rebekah A. Frimpong, Edouard Steinhauer, Michele Stephenson, Wahala Temi, Adrienne E. Wheeler, Nathan Williams, Tracee Worley.
List of past exhibitions
- PIXELATING: Black in New Dimensions
- Feed Your Head: The African Origin of the Scientific Aesthetic
- Saying No: Reconciling Spirituality and Resistance in Indigenous Australian Art
- Ain't I A Woman
- Gentrification of Brooklyn
- Johannesburg to New York
- Perspectives: Women, Art and Islam
- I Am A Man
- Dread Scott: Welcome to America
- Black Madonna
- They Won't Budge: Africans in Europe
- The Middle Passage: White Ships, Black Cargo
- Arturo Lindsay: Love
- The French Evolution: Race, Politics and the 2005 Riots
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