we web keepers: a window exhibition by Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo
September 21 through November 12, 2022
By WM, October 2022
From the press release:
“*we web keepers* is connective tissue, baskets, nets, hands that hold, bodies that fight oppression, underground mycelium, seeds getting ready to sprout, ancestors we never got to meet, kinship so deep it reminds us of our multiplicity, chosen family, lovers, an ecosystem, a legacy of caring that holds us through the darkest days.”
Printed Matter / St Marks is honored to present we web keepers, a window exhibition by artist, activist, educator, storyteller, and curator Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo. Printed Matter will also publish we web keepers, net-workers, woven becomers, a new publication from the artist realized on occasion of the show.
Within we web keepers, Lukaza explores and interrogates the interconnected practices of collective survival and mutual aid that hold and sustain Black, Indigenous, queer, trans, non binary, people of color. Over the past two years, Lukaza has been weaving patterns, words, collected stories, brightness, modes of broadcasting and communication, and systems of organizing—all ways we need each other to continue—into a new body of work titled Roots and webs and nets and branches and bulletin boards and banners and newsletters and mutual-aid text threads and kin and caretakers and porches and poems of today and spaces of survival, published in May 2022. This project investigates shared forms of support and future-making, questions central to Lukaza’s practice that anchor, too, this exhibition.
The installation contains two layers of work: the first is a large-scale window painting depicting both written text and drawn patterns (roots, nets, webs, knots, mesh) superimposed against each other. In this overlapping there are moments of both chaos and clarity, legibility and camouflage, that invite viewers to consider the content of the text with a slowness and intentionality that honors the density of the ideas themselves.
The second layer, functioning as a bulletin board, is a series of 39 works on paper (one for each day the show is up) which will be added periodically to the St Marks Pl-facing window over the course of the installation. The works are double sided with painted text (including contributions from both Lukaza and others listed in the bibliography below) facing the street and patterns facing into the bookstore. As the window becomes populated over time, two lattices will form—one an interconnectedness of paper and shape, and the other a linguistic framework and conceptual legacy that underpins the installation as a whole.
The bulletin board is a public space where people exchange messages, share demands, and ask for help. We watch as the bulletin board’s surface evolves at the hands of our communities, and we return to them again and again. Lukaza’s unique works, affixed to the windows like flyers on a cork board, act not only as messages but also as markers of time. They invite a returning to and slow looking of this evolving site.
we web keepers, net-workers, woven becomers, a new publication by Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo realized on the occasion of the show, is forthcoming from Printed Matter in November 2022.
we web keepers is organized by Emmett Pinsky & Max Zlotsky Seiler.
Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo (they/them/Lukaza) is an artist, activist, educator, storyteller & curator who lives/works between Lisjan Ohlone Land [Oakland, CA] and Powhatan Land [Richmond,VA]. With roots in storytelling, Branfman-Verissimo’s work is informed by their commitment to craft and community, engagement with society, and interests in preserving and broadcasting B.I.Q.T.P.O.C. stories. Their work has been included in exhibitions and performances at Konsthall C [Stockholm, Sweden], SEPTEMBER Gallery [Kinderhook, NY], EFA Project Space [New York City, NY], Leslie Lohman Museum [New York City, NY], Yerba Buena Center for the Arts [San Francisco, CA] and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive [Berkeley, CA], amongst others. Their artist books and prints have been published by Endless Editions, Childish Books, Press Press, Sming Sming and Night Diver Press, and a forthcoming project with Printed Matter Inc. Lukaza was recently included in the Corita Center’s ‘New Rules Next Week’ podcast, which invited notable artists and cultural workers to dream up the future of ‘Corita Kent’s Ten Rules for Teachers and Students’. WM