Red Bull Arts is pleased to present Akeem Smith: No Gyal Can Test, on view at Red Bull Arts Detroit from April 16–July 301, 2021. Following its critically acclaimed debut in New York, an expanded presentation of the artist’s solo exhibition will travel to Red Bull Arts’ Detroit outpost, which is home to the program’s curatorial fellowship, artist residency, radio studio, and artist grant initiative. For his Detroit presentation of No Gyal Can Test, Smith will debut new sculptures and site-specific video and audio installations, and develop a series of virtual and public programs.
“Like Kingston’s dancehall community, Detroit is home to an important locus of culture within the global Black diaspora,” Smith reflects. “I’m excited to see how the exhibition’s themes of community, site-specificity, and transformation through music and style reverberate in a city shaped by such deep-rooted, parallel histories of economic disenfranchisement and subcultural abundance.”
Part poem, part anthropological homage, No Gyal Can Test forms a layered exploration of spectral coloniality, diaspora, and the voyeurism that results from transposing these artefacts of a still-active community across cultural, economic, and temporal divides. Smith presents a series of large-scale sculptures comprising demolished architectural remnants salvaged and transported from his childhood neighborhood, Kingston’s Waterhouse District. Filtered through the artist’s transgressive and challenging aesthetic, Smith’s monumental assemblages house multi-channel videos and photographs carefully culled from his extensive archive that deify the women of dancehall as the larger than life figures of his youth.