• 1 Drexel Drive, New Orleans, Louisiana

Play Me Home, 2021

Tiona walking

Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Prospect.5

Play Me Home, 2021
4-channel HD color video, with sound
Courtesy of the artist

Play Me Home is a multichannel installation and a series of related sculptural objects. This genre-defying new work blends narrative fiction and nonfiction centered around several intertwined threads. One channel features a filmic portrait of the four o’clock flower, a variety of trumpet flower known for its ability to propagate and thrive on land hostile to most plant life. The four o’clock grows wild throughout the Delta region, on the same lands where the artist’s family settled as some of the earliest Black sharecropping farmers in the Delta, and where they still own and maintain farmland. This view onto historical Black relationships to land, property, and livelihood in the region is the focus of the channel situated within the sole monitor in the space. Two more channels present scenes of McClodden burying and planting a dying flower on land in the Lower Ninth Ward alongside two trumpets (witnesses), as well as filmic portraits of the land where McClodden’s family has lived in the Delta.

The leather-bound feature-length script draft, a work in progress for over a decade, centers the fictional narrative of an elderly Black woman’s return to New Orleans, where she once played in an all-female brass band, as she comes to the end of her life. The work’s title references Black musical funerary traditions and honors lesser-acknowledged sites and modalities of “home” for Black people living in the United States. By exploring localized migration in the South, Play Me Home documents and interrogates place, personhood, and vitality as encountered through the sensual experience of Black people and communities.

Presented by the VIA Art Fund.

About the Artist

Tiona Nekkia McClodden
b. 1981, Blytheville, Arkansas
Lives in Philadelphia

Tiona Nekkia McClodden is a visual artist, filmmaker, and curator whose work explores, and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and social commentary. McClodden’s interdisciplinary approach traverses documentary film, experimental video, sculpture, and sound installations. Themes explored in McClodden’s films and works have been re-memory and more recently narrative biomythography. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and MoMA PS1, New York, among others. She recently exhibited work in the Whitney Biennial (2019), for which she received the Bucksbaum Award. McClodden has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, and the 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts.

 

For Prospect.5, McClodden has created a film in New Orleans and the surrounding area about ancestry and migration, and the ways language transmits and records these histories.

About P.5

Prospect.5: Yesterday we said tomorrow is the fifth edition of Prospect New Orleans, a citywide art exhibition. Inspired by New Orleans jazz musician Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s 2010 album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow , the title of the exhibition centers the unspoken present, the place where past and future come together, and where other courses of action become possible. The exhibition title also implies the deferral of meaningful change, which often comes slowly or not at all. The artists and ideas that define this exhibition confront this truth, and the stark realities of history, but also suggest that we might yet plot a different future.

Prospect.5 features an intergenerational group of 51 artists from the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. The artists have created projects that emerge from research into place, express connections to the past and to land, and seek to form and reflect community. They have considered the ways in which history continues to shape the present, and their artworks are testaments to acts of ritual, selfhood, and modes of resistance that define daily life in New Orleans and beyond. Their projects offer spaces of memorialization and mourning, and of imagination and togetherness.

Yesterday we said tomorrow takes its cues from the current moment and from New Orleans itself, a city built on inextricable layers of history. While the narratives of this history are contested and suppressed, its presence can always be felt. This exhibition, the course of which has been marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, a historic election, and Hurricane Ida, presents art as a means of defining one’s self and as a statement of opposition, and as an enduring assertion that challenges the dominant historical record. It reveals the ways that New Orleans, a beacon of culture and an embodiment of this nation’s complicated past, is a quintessentially American city, the future of which is dependent on the truths of our past and the actions of the present.

Prospect.5: Yesterday we said tomorrow is curated by the Susan Brennan Co-Artistic Directors Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi, with Grace Deveney, Associate Curator, and Lucia Olubunmi Momoh, Curatorial Associate.

Visit prospect5.org for a complete list of P.5 artists, venues, dates, and programs. We can’t wait to see you!

P.5