The Boston-based artist, Karmimadeebora McMillan, mines Black material culture and historical archives to reimagine Black histories through diverse media. In her first major solo exhibition in the region, McMillan creates an immersive installation featuring animation, painting, and sound. Wandering stars…for whom it is reserved…the blackness…the darkness…forever is a kaleidoscopic journey through time that draws inspiration from sci-fi, speculative fiction, and Afrofuturism.
Wandering Stars debuts two animations, one representing the Black historical past and the other, a future for Black people and the building of a new world. Suspended throughout the gallery space are vibrantly painted cut-out figures. One such figure, which McMillan refers to as Ms. Merri Mack, is seen in multiple variations, some solid in color while others are rendered in colorful detail. Based on a vintage doll portraying a black caricature, and whose name is taken from a character in a nursery rhyme sung by enslaved children, Ms. Merri Mack is a means for McMillan to reclaim and subvert racial stereotypes. As the central protagonist in McMillan’s futuristic narrative, Ms. Merri Mack represents a catalyst for change, leading the viewer through portals in time and toward a hopeful future.
McMillan’s work is rooted in references to Black culture across time. Allusions to the graphic boldness of the revolutionary Black art collective, AfriCOBRA and images taken from the Black Panther Coloring Book, a propaganda piece disseminated by the US government in the 1960s, appear throughout McMillan’s paintings and animations. Wandering stars…for whom it is reserved…the blackness…the darkness…forever, the title taken from a song by the British band, Portishead, re-envisions the past, present, and future to explore the power of memory and how Black histories are held and carried.
Presented in collaboration with bkprojects, Watertown, MA.
Karmimadeebora McMillan is an interdisciplinary artist working in painting, printmaking, sculpture, animation, installation, and public art based in Cambridge, MA. She received her Associate of Fine Arts degree from Peace College and MFA and Post Baccalaureate Certificate from SMFA at Tufts. She received her BA from her hometown in Fayetteville, NC, HBCU, Fayetteville State University.
McMillan has shown extensively on the east coast and in 2021 received the Now + There public artists grant and is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Boston Center for the Arts. She has performed with her mentor Magdalena Campos-Pons at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Queens Museum in New York, and the Havana, Cuba Biennale 15. Karmimadeebora is also the Director of the Post Baccalaureate Program at SMFA at Tufts. She is currently pursuing an Interdisciplinary PhD through Tufts University focusing on Black Women of Power.
Artist Reception + Community Meal: Wednesday, February 7th, 5-7PM
Artist Conversation between Karmimadeebora McMillan and Charla Jones: Wednesday, February 14th, 11-12PM, H101
Generations (detail), 2023
Acrylic and Collage on Canvas