This year we had the honor of co-editing and publishing “Black Women as/and the Living Archive” with Tsedaye Makonnen. The book is now available to order through WPA books+editions and was just featured by BmoreArt in their 2021 book highlights. Read their full list here.

“Black Women as/and the Living Archive” is part of a larger project of the same name, curated and organized by interdisciplinary artist Tsedaye Makonnen, first presented at WPA in 2020.

Edited by Tsedaye Makonnen and Jordan Martin
Washington Project for the Arts, 2021
Paperback, 10 x 5.5 in.
115 pages

Place your order here

Black Women as/and the Living Archive explores the modes in which Black women encode, preserve, and share memory through community. Central to Makonnen's inquiry was Children of NAN: Mothership, a film by Alisha B. Wormsley that functions as a metaphor for the survival and power of Black women in a dystopic future. Many of the cast and collaborators of the film—Li Harris, Autumn Knight, Ingrid LaFleur, Jamila Raegan, and Jasmine Hearn—participated in the multi-event project.

This publication incorporates both archival and new materials, and serves as a repository for the conversations and intimate interactions amongst the participants and the audience. It follows the project from its inception in 2019 (first planned to be an exhibition with screenings and live performances) to its adaptation to virtual formats in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its presentation during the Black Lives Matter uprisings and the ongoing state sanctioned violence against Black people.

Makonnen organized the publication around four themes: Space, Moving Image, Memory; Collective Memory; Pleasure Memory; and Mama Memory [& Care].

The book includes newly commissioned writing by Jessica Lanay, Jo Stewart, Ladi’Sasha Jones, and Yona Harvey, documentation of the project’s public programs, as well as an annotated bibliography by Ola Ronke, creator of The Free Black Women's Library.

Designed by Rheagen King

About the Artist-Organizer

Tsedaye Makonnen is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and researcher. She has exhibited at Art Dubai, UAE; The Momentary, Bentonville, AR; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY; UNTITLED Art Fair, Miami, FL; and 1:54 Art Fair London, UK. Makonnen is currently exhibiting her work at CFHILL, Stockholm, Sweden, National Museum of Women in the Arts in DC and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Md. Her light sculptures were recently acquired by the Smithsonian for their permanent collection. She will join the Clark Art Institute in 2022 as their Futures Fellow. Makonnen is represented by Addis Fine Art.


December 22, 2021