On Saturday, November 7th, The Agora Culture director Jessica Stafford invited us into her home in collaboration with writer and curator Julie Chae for a quaint reveal by Elia Alba for her latest project, The Supper Club. The Supper Club highlights a series of artists by not only showcasing their work, but the artists themselves as enveloped by their own aesthetic. Below are some of the featured works and artists within the collective.
Here is an excerpt of what The Supper Club strives to illustrate:
The Supper Club is a multi-faceted art project that brings together over 50 contemporary artists of color through portraiture and dialogue. Inspired by Vanity Fair Magazine’s annual “Hollywood Issue,” which showcases Hollywood’s biggest movie stars of that year, I set out to photograph over 50 contemporary artists of color in individual portrait. The photographs frame the artists as celebrities and transform their identities into iconic, fantastical images. Each artist was given a moniker as a way to define them within the group. For example, Irvin Morazan, The Shaman, whose practice has been offering us different shamanistic embodiments since 2011, presents as a shamanistic Che Guevara figure. Mickalene Thomas, The Female Gaze, is fashioned as a powerful Botticelli-esque Venus by the sea, not unlike the women portrayed in her paintings. All of the portraits will be featured in full page layouts in the book, alongside a brief description of each artist.
What develops from this exhibition is a legion of artist each with a moniker like an X-Men superhero. A juxtaposition between the art itself and artist intent is created as we move between Elia’s choice in depiction and the role of the artist within the collective. The sense of empowerment is highly palpable as each artist photographed gazes deeply into the camera’s lens and draws you into their realm, a world created for and by them. But of course what we love alongside the integrity of each photo is that The Supper Club represents a group of diverse artists of color.
Ultimately, The Supper Club project serves as a critical historical archive of this moment, documenting African-American, Latin American, African, South Asian and Caribbean artists as a collective group. It is rare that so many creative voices, from so many cultural, social, political and economic backgrounds can come together in a way that clearly highlights the importance and richness of diverse critical perspectives in today’s society. More than a photography book, The Supper Club weighs in on the historical significance of the last few years and the enduring power of art, food, and conversation in our everyday lives.