Round 49: penumbras: sacred geometries

Round 49 Opening, Artists’ Talks & Market
March 16, 2019
Artists’ Talks | 2:30
Opening & Market | 4:00 - 7:00 pm

Open to the Public
Wednesday through Sunday | Noon - 5:00 pm

Round 49: penumbras: sacred geometries highlights artists whose practices incorporates the ideology of sacred geometries to form structures and landscapes that allude to the body, intent, and consciousness. In 1995, artist Bob Powell participated in Round 3, with the intention on deepening the sacred geometry theories while also demonstrating how artist Dr. John Biggers embedded mathematical concepts within his paintings. Building upon this foundation, each artists participating in Round 49 will create six site-specific installations within the shot-gun-style houses on Holman Street.

Round 49 Artists:

  • Onajide Shabaka (US) is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes story-telling through short narrative films and expansive installations whose materials are drawn from organic matter.

  • Juana Valdes (Cuba) is a research-based artist whose travels bridge geographic moments that speak on the economy of labor, aesthetics, and resistance in the Caribbean.

  • Yanira Collado's (Dominican Republic) work is rooted in the synthesis of African fractals, slave quilts, and geometric concepts. Her work produces and highlights the complexity of abstraction as a non-western narrative rooted in African tradition.

  • Aramis O'Reilly (Cuba) creates alternative landscapes that relate to color based systems of communication and the harmony of the spheres; an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies.

  • Charo Oquet (Dominican Republic) is an interdisciplinary artist whose installation based work draws from the intersection of sacred geometries and constellational patterns originating in Veve symbols and Taíno cosmograms.

  • Leticia Contreras (Afromexican) is an artist who reframes the unframed through photography, performance and site-specific installation capturing the felt essence of our presence in temporal structures and abandoned vessels.

Sitting on a Man's Head, a special project by okwui okpokwasili and peter born, will be on view as part of the collaboration with the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.

Round 49 is co-curated by PRH Curator and Programs Director Ryan N. Dennis and cultural practitioner william cordova.


Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born: Sitting on a Man’s Head

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Performance: Friday, April 12, 6–9pm and Saturday, April 13, 12–6pm

Artists in residence through the Performing the Neighborhood initiative of the Mitchell Center and Project Row Houses over the past three years, Okpokwasili and Born have created a dynamic “public song,” engaging the Project Row Houses site, local artists, and the Houston community. Their installation in a this shot-gun style row house will be activated during CounterCurrent as an immersive live experience, in turn intimate and collective.

The practice of “sitting on a man” was one of the many disruptive durational protest practices used by women in Southeastern Nigeria, it was a traditional exercise of their collective power and it became a vital tool throughout the period of British colonial rule.

In Sitting on a Man’s Head, the space of restoration and restitution is considered. Where the women in Southeastern Nigeria had long-standing kinship and communal bonds, shared languages and shared concerns, Okpokwasili and Born consider making a space for the formation of new bonds of kinship around common questions.

Working with artists based in Houston, Okpokwasili and Born hope to use the tools of their performance practice to build a space for the creation of an improvisational public song composed of aural and choreographic gestures. Can a shared creative practice be generative and generous while also being instructive in imagining new possibilities of communal relations?

Sitting on a Man’s Head was developed as part of Performing the Neighborhood, a joint initiative with Project Row Houses to bring performance-based artists to Houston annually. Performing the Neighborhood is supported in part with an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


chapters: fragments in black, brown, red and yellow

Photo Courtesy of Black Panther Newspaper, May 1971

Photo Courtesy of Black Panther Newspaper, May 1971

On View: March 16-June 9, 2019
2521 Holman Street

"space, like language, is socially constructed; and like the syntax of language, the spatial arrangements of our buildings and communities reflect and reinforce the nature of gender, race and class relations in society. The uses of both language and space contribute to the power of some groups over others and the maintenance of human inequality."
- Leslie Kanes Weisman

“the invisible place became more than an exhumation of history. It became an affirmation”
- Wendy Cheng (A People’s Guide to Los Angeles, Part 2)

chapters: fragments in black, brown, red and yellow is an ongoing expansive photo based research project, began in 2006, focused on documenting activists and activism through vernacular architecture as a form of reconstructing and further contextualizing narratives muted by time, economic erasure and historical amnesia. 

This specific chapter (b.b.r.y) addresses the integration of Black, Brown, Red and yellow activists in the Young Lords Party and Black Panther Party between 1968 and 1973.

Recovered vintage photo documents in the form of articles, snapshots, wirephotos, juxtaposed with autonomous images of present day uninhabitable spaces relating to once occupied activist dwellings, where social political transformation was constant. These documents record the fragmented narratives of community led organizations who affectively influenced and created a global phenomenon. 

This project aims to contextualize and place agency on the significance of historical achievements by the community as a template, example for proposing continuous change and at the same time existing as a place for healing and transcendence.

Points of reference for chapters: fragments in black, brown, red and yellow; photographers Martin Chambi, Deborah Willis and Hiroshi Sugimoto. Whose contributions recall the evidence, acknowledgement, preservation of presence and community. 


Representative Image

Charo Oquet, Written on Skin and Sacred Gestures installation view. Project Row Houses, Round 49: Penumbras: Sacred Geometries, 2019. Photo by Alex Barber.