RAGGA NYC: All the threatened and delicious things joining one another


RAGGA NYC will be in residence through the Department of Education and Public Engagement’s R&D Season: BODY.

Cover Image:

Tau Lewis, Georgia marble marks slave burial sites across America, 2016. Plaster, cement, acrylic paint, chain, and high-gloss finish, 18 1/2 × 12 1/2 × 8 1/2 in (47 × 31.8 × 21.6 cm). Collection Christine and Murray Quinn. Courtesy Cooper Cole and the artist

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RAGGA NYC is in residence through the Department of Education and Public Engagement’s R&D Season: BODY. A platform founded by Christopher Udemezue, RAGGA connects a community of queer Caribbean artists working across a wide range of disciplines—including visual art, fashion, and poetry—to explore how race, sexuality, gender, heritage, and history inform their work and their lives. A vibrant community deeply committed to education and grassroots organizing, RAGGA fosters a network and an extended family that makes space for solidarity, celebration, and expression. Their residency explores Afro-Caribbean diasporic traditions, bringing together works by a group of artists who trace their own relationships to Caribbean history. The exhibition includes sculptures from Renée Stout’s Roots and Charms series, which nod to the hand-painted signs advertising elixirs and spiritual healing on the storefronts of shops in New Orleans and Washington D.C., and to the symbolic objects found within them. Tau Lewis’s foraged, ain’t free series portrays cacti, plants transplanted to radically different climates where they thrive nevertheless, a metaphor for the diasporic condition. Works in Paul Anthony Smith’s Grey Area series layer grainy silkscreened images of male acquaintances Smith encountered while back in his hometown in Jamaica for his aunt’s funeral, alongside images of a cemetery burial ground, suggesting a complex relationship to an island he left as a child.

Taking up Édouard Glissant’s claim that “the language of the Caribbean artist does not originate in the obsession with celebrating his inner self; this inner self is inseparable from the future evolution of his community [in which] he is his own ethnologist, historian, [and] linguist,” RAGGA NYC’s residency also features a number of public programs, including workshops exploring Afro-Caribbean spiritual traditions and an evening of performances and poetry by members of RAGGA.

This exhibition is curated by Sara O’Keeffe, Assistant Curator.

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Artist commissions at the New Museum are generously supported
by the Neeson / Edlis Artist Commissions Fund.

Artist residencies are made possible, in part, by Laurie Wolfert.

Additional support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.

We gratefully acknowledge the New Museum Council for Artists’ Research and Residencies: Alexandra Bowes, Gregory R. Miller and Michael Wiener,
and Laurie Wolfert, Co-Chairs; Dr. Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons,
Terry Gamble Boyer and Peter Boyer, Isolde Brielmaier, Jenny Choo,
Lonti Ebers and Bruce Flatt, Julia Gruen, Stephen Reily and Emily Bingham,
and the Mimi Saltzman Foundation.​

Additional support is provided by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

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