Past Exhibitions

jaamil olawale kosoko

Syllabus for Black Love

World Premiere

A multileveled altar draped in gold and green fabrics, featuring miscellaneous objects including a bedazzled gas mask with a curly yellow wig on top, green leafy plants, blue sneakers, a chainmail headdress, and a baby doll.

Reflecting the healing qualities of everyday Black life, Syllabus for Black Love is an expansive project that includes a reading space, website, zine—and this multichannel video installation.

Making its world premiere at the Wex, the installation includes a three-channel video as well as an altar staging objects and materials from kosoko’s archive of performance works. Various fabric-covered floor sculptures invite you to spend time in the space.

Sending the viewer through environments that evoke the ancient elements—air, fire, water, earth, and spirit—the video is conceived as a choreopoem that follows the journey of two artists, kosoko and Jennifer Kidwell. The work reimagines their psychic realities, visualizing Black queer lives in natural settings that span land and sky, bonfire and ocean, while transforming them into sacred, intimate places. Alongside this poetic quest, the video asks “What is Black love and how do we protect its critical embodiment?” by embracing the practice of doulas, who nurture, teach, and create a restorative community of guidance and support.

With an original sound score composed by Everett-Asis Saunders, the Syllabus for Black Love installation serves as the vessel for the hold, a live performance on June 17 that can be experienced in our Performance Space and on wexarts.org via livestream.

Also accompanying the installation is the Syllabus for Black Love Library, which in kosoko’s words “imagines learning outside the boundaries imposed by institutions.”

These projects are presented as part of Portal For(e) the Ephemeral Passage, an interdisciplinary exhibition curated by kosoko that amplifies Black feminist voices in contemporary art and performance. Click here to view the complete lineup.

A multileveled altar draped in gold and green fabrics, featuring miscellaneous objects including a bedazzled gas mask with a curly yellow wig on top, green leafy plants, blue sneakers, a chainmail headdress, and a baby doll.

jaamil olawale kosoko, Syllabus for Black Love, 2022, in Portal For(e) the Ephemeral Passage, installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts, June 10–August 14, 2022. Photo: Stephen Takacs.

Gallery room with brown pillows scattered throughout the carpeted floor and projectors on the back and side walls. The projector in the back features an up-close shot of two Black people whose lips are separated by a small space, where blurred greenery can be seen in the background. The person on the left has dark hair above their lip, and the person on the right has glossy lips. The side-wall projectors feature three Black people surrounded by green foliage.

jaamil olawale kosoko, Syllabus for Black Love, 2022, in Portal For(e) the Ephemeral Passage, installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts, June 10–August 14, 2022. Photo: Stephen Takacs.

jaamil olawale kosoko from their 2022 book Black Body Amnesia: Poems and Other Acts, featuring the artist standing against a rocky ocean inlet. They are wearing a gold chainmail headpiece, gold body paint on their face and torso, and a flowing brown gown.

jaamil olawale kosoko. Image courtesy of the artist, photo: Freddy Koh © Wendy's Subway.

Artist jaamil olawale kosoko from their video project Syllabus for Black Love. The artist wears a gold, chainmail headpiece and a black-and-gold patterned robe. Behind them in the background is a rocky ocean and blue sky with light clouds.

jaamil olawale kosoko, Syllabus for Black Love, 2022 (still). Three-channel video. Image courtesy of the artist © jaamil olawale kosoko.

A film still from artist jaamil olawale kosoko's video project Syllabus for Black Love, featuring multicolored, abstract, and ethereal light patterning.

jaamil olawale kosoko, Syllabus for Black Love, 2022 (still). Three-channel video. Image courtesy of the artist © jaamil olawale kosoko.

More about the artist

jaamil olawale kosoko chevron-down chevron-up

jaamil olawale kosoko (b. Detroit, MI) is a multispirited Nigerian American author, performance artist, and curator of Yoruba and Natchez descent, currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more on the artist’s website and follow the artist on Instagram.

Portal For(e) the Ephemeral Passage is organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts and curated by jaamil olawale kosoko in collaboration with all of its programming departments.

Syllabus for Black Love, 2022
Commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts and supported by the center’s Film/Video Studio
Performers: Jennifer Kidwell, jaamil olawale kosoko
Cinematographers: Ima Iduozee, Sydney Lawson
Composition: Everett-Asis Saunders
Editing and postproduction: Alexis McCrimmon
Concept and direction: jaamil olawale kosoko

THIS PRESENTATION MADE POSSIBLE BY
National Endowment for the Arts
New England Foundation for the Arts

EXHIBITIONS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Bill and Sheila Lambert
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Carol and David Aronowitz
Crane Family Foundation
Mike and Paige Crane

FREE GALLERIES MADE POSSIBLE BY
American Electric Power Foundation
Adam Flatto
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR FREE GALLERIES PROVIDED BY
CoverMyMeds
PNC Foundation

WEXNER CENTER PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
The Wexner Family
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Ohio Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
L Brands Foundation
Adam Flatto
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Nationwide Foundation
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Mike and Paige Crane
Pete Scantland
Axium Packaging
CampusParc
CoverMyMeds
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
President Kristina M. Johnson and Mrs. Veronica Meinhard
Nancy Kramer
Huntington
Lisa Barton
Johanna DeStefano
Russell and Joyce Gertmenian
Liza Kessler and Greg Henchel
Ron and Ann Pizzuti
Joyce and Chuck Shenk
Bruce and Joy Soll
Jones Day

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Past Exhibitions

jaamil olawale kosoko