Preach R Sun
Live durational performance For Whites Only. Curated by Jill McDermid | Grace Exhibition Space.
Preach R Sun, For Whites Only. Long durational performance of six days at the III Venice International Performance Art Week 2016. Image © Edward Smith
Preach R Sun, For Whites Only. Performance at the III Venice International Performance Art Week 2016. Image © Edward Smith
Preach R Sun's work, a combination of protest activism and social critique (described as, Fugitivism and Conjuring) incorporates and fuses art and activism as a means to investigate and interrogate the nature and limits of freedom, while simultaneously posing a direct challenge to systems of oppression and injustice. Sun accomplishes this through implementation of unconventional protest tactics geared towards the conception and fomentation of revolutionary action. And through – what he likes to call – an, 'ANY MEANS NECESSARY', interdisciplinary approach that involves multimedia, experimental (extemporaneously driven) theater performance elements, site specific social experiments and other visual art practices e.g., assemblage and digital collage.
At the VENICE INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART WEEK 2016, Sun goes with For Whites Only, to excavate this black soul, which is to unearth a white artifact.
Was Fanon right when he postulated that we are slaving away to become white while the white man slaves away to become more human? (The black slave driven by shame; the white man by guilt.) Alas, can the black slave seek liberation from himself and from his desire to be white? Tell me, what is freedom to the black slave who, true to the laws of nature and ALL the white gods, is always willing to sell himself (body and soul) in white markets? The black slave who, hates being called a slave but, nevertheless, feels obliged to live as one. The black slave who lives outside of himself – he is both foreigner and prisoner to his own body – his entire existence defined by whiteness.
Yes, the white man has always known that the black slaves DREAM was to replace him. He knew that, to the black slave, he was the embodiment of freedom. He knew that (in the black slaves gaze) he was god. So, as god he gave the black slave his freedom – a lie which he packaged and sold in his own image – in return for his pledge of allegiance. Unbeknownst to the black slave, his freedom never belonged to the white man and thus was never the white man's to give. But the slave was desperate, so he abdicated his own humanity, to put on his new fetters believing he had actually secured freedom.
But One-Man rejected the white man's nefarious gift (free-dumb). One-Man chose instead to free his "FUCKING" self! One-Man realized that his liberation did not require ANY MAN'S (white nor black) permission. So, One-Man is a fugitive an outcast even unto his own people. (Of course, his freedom is slavery to those who've been seduced into believing slavery is freedom.)
run nigger! there is no help for you here...
because you are not one of us...
because you're an outsider. you do not talk, walk or act like one of us. you have no roots here…
because you threaten to break our beautiful chains. what gives you the right to call us slaves? what gives you the right to tell us how to live our lives?
because you reek of something foreign. you are simply too strange for us. you're a weirdo. a circus freak. yes, you belong to those pallid people. they should have you. they love to collect strange things after all...
I don't know for certain, but I would reckon (to the black slave) freedom smells really wild like coon. Perhaps rebarbatively pungent (stressed and terrified) like the sweat of a fugitive. Then again maybe it actually possesses a sugary sweet aroma, decadent and forbidden like apple trees on the opulent (lily white) plantations of Eden. Maybe it smells divine and pure like the sweet breath of white baby Jesus; or taste like holy water dripping from the wet, god kissed, thighs of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Of course this would be off putting for those who still bear the stench of shame and damnation – slave ships, rape, fear, blood drenched leather and oxidized iron. In which case, perhaps freedom smells like old death; like the decayed carcass of an ancient betrayal. Perhaps it's the scent of something both, strangely, foreign and familiar; like the intoxicatingly seductive allure of freshly minted currency – a recipe of cotton, gunpowder, rum, copper and iron aged in 400 year old blood barrels….
So, to hell I have been sent (One-Man) – just a loud talking nigger – damned and left outside of the divine pearly gates that are guarded by white lions. Outside of gods grace... My crime... My sin... daring to DREAM of FREEDOM.
~ Preach R Sun
+ LIVE PERFORMANCE