“For a writer does but conjugate the tenses and ten – sions of time through verbal means, and his scope is dismally reduced if [they]… must keep step with the indiscriminant rush towards the future, disregarding the only fullness in time: the presents, where we remember and where we imagine.”
— Carlos Fuentes, “Remember the Future” (1985)
Banal Presents is the third and final chapter in the exhibition series Colored People Time and stages a conversation between the artists Carolyn Lazard, Cameron Rowland, and Sable Elyse Smith. The artists in this exhibition — and we, as viewers — occupy a current moment haunted by what the Professor Saidiya Hartman has termed the “afterlife” of slavery. This “afterlife” names the enduring presence of slavery’s racialized violence that permeates every aspect of our society. Banal Presents locates the present as the space where we bend the relationship between the past and the future. The present, in all of its fleetingness, is where we act.
Colored People Time, structured as an experimental exhibition in three chapters — Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, and Banal Presents — unfolds over the course of 2019.
— Meg Onli, Assistant Curator