Martina Dodd is a DC based art historian and curator. Her concept driven shows have touched on topics relating to race, gender and power dynamics. She is intrigued by the ways in which value is placed on art, and seeks to examine the social impact material culture has on society.
Dodd holds a MA in the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas from the University of East Anglia, and a BA in Anthropology and International Studies from Johns Hopkins University. She is one of the founding editors of DIRT, and has recently curated shows for DC Arts Center as well as Prince George's African American Museum and Cultural Center.
What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?
This year in particular Black History Month is all about recognising the diversity of Black excellence and achievement on our own terms and through our own lens. The adinkra symbol "Sankofa" comes to mind during this month, which symbolises the proverb "go back and fetch it." The proverb reminds us that we can not move forward without learning from those and what has come before us. So this month (and really every month) we should take the time out to learn from our collective experiences and cultural past to build upon what has already been done. This time of the year should not be just an isolated incident where we honor our ancestors. It should also serve as a reminder that we stand on the shoulders of giants, and we too should be consistently lifting up each other.
Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Curate This Year?
I seem to find inspiration in things or images that force me to think harder or stare longer. Like Renee Stout's assemblages which are tangled in personal and historical narrative or Kerry James Marshall's portraits which are layered with meaningful imagery and symbolism. I am inspirited on the daily by other young black women artists who challenge me to dig deeper through my art. I find inspiration in the dog-eared pages of my aunt's old novels by James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston and bell hooks. And I recently found inspiration on the brightly colored streets of Havana along with the heavily patterned textiles of West Africa.
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