February 7 - May 10, 2024
Curators’ Talk: Thursday, April 4, 6:00 p.m.

As We Move Forward is a curatorial intervention gathering and championing the artistic and social practices of BIPOC women from Augusta Savage’s home state of Florida in her gallery namesake. Savage, renowned sculptor and beloved educator, was a groundbreaking catalyst in the arts whose legacy serves as a reminder of the importance of community, advocacy, and mentorship as foundations for sustaining an equitable and inclusive art world. This show honors her work and influence to construct a space for artists to create, to move, and to become. Throughout the exhibition, artists search out what it means to embody space, place, home, and self as critical expressions of Black Miami feminist geographies. Ultimately, this show continues the memory work led by scholar Donette Francis at the inaugural Still Here symposium at the University of Miami Center for Global Black Studies to further canonize these women artists from Miami and their relationships to the intersectionalities of race, place, labor, and gender in the Arts. 

The Augusta Savage Gallery is located in the New Africa House at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a site made possible by the collective organizing of students, faculty, staff, and community members. We thank and honor the spirit of this site as kin-occupants also seeking and moving toward radical black futures in Miami, Amherst, and beyond.

Juana Valdes uses printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and site-specific installations, to explore issues of race, transnationalism, gender, labor, and class. Functioning as an archive, Valdes’s work analyzes and decodes experiences of migration as a person of Afro-Caribbean heritage. Born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Valdes came to the United States in 1971. She received her BFA in Sculpture from the Parsons School of Design (1991), her MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts (1993) and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (1995). She is currently an Associate Professor in the Art Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Nhadya Lawes is an interdisciplinary scholar and arts professional in pursuit of the practical and the poetic in the cultural sector. A University of Miami graduate with a Bachelor’s in English Literature and minors in Sociology, Art History, and Africana Studies, she was born and raised in South Florida to Jamaican immigrants and is a champion for arts of social practice and placemaking.


Lauren Baccus is an educator, textile artist, and independent researcher whose work centers on the construction of Caribbean identity through textile, craft, and costume. Deeply influenced by masquerade and the Caribbean’s legacy of resistance and storytelling through cloth and clothing, her work encompasses live public performance, extra-textual archives, and the digital space as a site for decolonization. Her most recent project, Salt and Aloes, is an ongoing exploration and rethinking of Caribbean material culture over the past century.
Adrienne Chadwick is a visual artist who utilizes accumulation, repetition, and translucence to express ideas related to power and resistance, in the built and natural environments. Her mixed media installations have been exhibited at the Aqua Art Fair, Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator and Bridge Red in Miami, Girls Club Collection, The Project Space and 1310 Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, Spady Museum, Delray Beach, and Eastern Connecticut University, among others. Born in Toronto, Canada, with origins in Belize, Central America, Chadwick lives and works in Hollywood, Florida. She has worked as a museum administrator since 1994, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New World School of the Arts, and a Master of Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University.
Yanira Collado lives/works in Miami FL. Collado is a multimedia cultural practitioner working with site-specific installations that encompass painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and audio. Collado's practice considers concepts that allude to the restoration of histories. Art Residencies and fellowships include Oolites Arts, Miami, FL, 2019-2022, Art Pace, San Antonio, Texas, 2022 and the Joan Mitchell Residency, New Orleans 2023. Collado was a recipient of The Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, in 2018, She was selected as an Ellies Creator grantee in 2019 and 2023. In 2021 was awarded a South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship and received a grant for an installation from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts 2022.
Diana Eusebio is a Peruvian-Dominican multidisciplinary artist. Her artistic practice is centered on color and its cultural significance. She researches natural dyed textiles from Indigenous Latin American and Afro-Caribbean traditions, recognizing their connection to nature and their role as carriers of ancestral wisdom. Eusebio's fusion of ancestral and modern techniques, including dyeing and photography, contributes to contemporary cultural preservation and celebrates the rich heritage and pre-Columbian knowledge embedded within these communities. Her work is a powerful testament to the enduring cultural tapestry of these regions.
Chris Friday is a multidisciplinary artist based in Miami. Her work explores themes of rest, privacy, and supplementing the archive as a way of advocating and claiming space for Black bodies that are historically excluded from it. Her portfolio features monumental works on paper, murals, video, ceramics, projections, photography, comic illustrations, installations, and social practice/activism through curating. Friday’s work has been included in exhibitions locally, nationally, and internationally. Recent shows include solo exhibitions Good Times (2023) curated by Laura Novoa and presented at Oolite Arts (2023), and One More River presented at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.
GeoVanna Gonzalez is a Miami-based artist. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California where she received her BFA at Otis College of Art and Design. Her work desires to connect private and public space through interventionist, participatory art with an emphasis on collaboration and collectivity. Through her work, she addresses the shifting notions of gender and identity, intimacy and proximity. Her most recent work performs these possibilities by collaborating with movement and sound-based artists. These improvisations are political acts, analyzing and critiquing what it means to share public space as womxn, queer folks, and people of color. Her work has been shown at various institutions including The Institute of Contemporary Art, Station Contemporary Arts Museum, NSU Art Museum, The Bass Museum, Fringe Projects, and The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. Her work is in permanent collections at Miami-Dade County Art in Public Place and the University of Maryland Art Gallery.
Faren Humes is an artist and filmmaker from Florida whose work has screened with jury recognition at Berlinale, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, SXSW, AFI Fest, Chicago International Film Festival and Miami Film Festival. Faren has held fellowships with United States Artists, the Guggenheim Foundation, Oolite, and Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute. Faren is currently furthering a body of work concerning the continuation and interconnectedness of Black Miami.
Loni Johnson is a multi-disciplinary visual artist born and raised in Miami, FL. As an artist, educator, mother, and activist, Ms. Johnson understands that as artists, there is a cyclical obligation to give back and nurture our communities with her creative gift and it must be utilized to better our world. Through collage, assemblage, installation, movement, and ritual, the artist creates healing spaces for Black women and explores how ancestral and historical memory informs how, when, and where we enter and claim spaces. Ms. Johnson graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from SUNY at Purchase College School of Art and Design.
Rhea Leonard is an African American multidisciplinary artist who uses drawing, printmaking, and sculpture within her practice to explore the Black body as well as the complex reality of Black life in America. By focusing on the Black body, language, the viewer, and the broader Black community, she works to highlight the ever-present aspects that come with the pervasive, nuanced levels of racism, anti-blackness, and microaggressions present in today’s American society. Her artwork has been published in The New York Times, Miami Herald, The Miami Times, and magazines. Leonard is also an adjunct professor at New World School of the Arts where she teaches printmaking and Florida International University where she teaches drawing. She has attended art residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. She is currently a resident artist locally at The Bakehouse Art Complex.
Kandy G Lopez: Born in New Jersey, she moved with her family to Florida at a young age. She received her BFA and BS from the University of South Florida, concentrating in Painting and in Marketing and Management. She received her MFA with a concentration in Painting from Florida Atlantic University in 2014. She has taught at Florida Atlantic University, Daytona State College, and is now teaching as an Associate Professor and Program Director in the Department of Communication, Media and Arts at the Halmos College of Art & Sciences at NOVA Southeastern University.
Sydney Rose Maubert is an artist, architect, and professor. She uses painting as a tool for architectural storytelling. Her research interests are architecture, geography, and cultural production in the Caribbean and American South. The work is largely shaped by black studies, gender studies, decolonial studies, history, and cultural geography. Informed by her Haitian-Cuban heritage, her practice explores racial-sexual perception in the built environment. She holds degrees in architecture from Yale University and the University of Miami, with double minors in writing and art. Currently, Sydney Rose is the inaugural fellow at Cornell's Strauch Fellowship, where she will teach and produce research (Fall 2022- ongoing).
Arsimmer McCoy is an interdisciplinary artist who merges poetry, archive, performance, and audio/visual sculpture, into a conduit for advocacy. McCoy uses poetry and performance as a vehicle for storytelling. McCoy’s poems have been included in Venice Magazine, RootWork journal, Creatures Mag, and several others. Her reflective/narrative style can be seen in poems like “Still got that ringin’ in my ear”, published by O, Miami and edited by journalist & archivist Nadege Green and the Miami Film Festival. McCoy activates spaces through performances and workshops, like Cornelius Tulloch’s solo show Bougainvillea for the FAENA art studio, The Perez Museum’s The Artist as Poet exhibition, Chris Friday’s One More River at Austin State Peay University in Clarksville, Tennessee, and the Edge Zones performance art festival in the Dominican Republic.
Najja Moon is a Miami-based artist and cultural practitioner, born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. Her arts practice uses drawing, text, and sound to explore the intersections of queer identity, the body and movement, black culture, and familiar relations both personal and communal. A preacher's kid and daughter of musicians raised on gospel music and HBCUs, before she committed to being an artist full-time, she was a basketball player who used to be a kid who wanted to be an artist. Her art practice has in some ways become the probing of these intersections. Moon is the inaugural artist to be commissioned by the Bass Museum for their New Monuments series. She was also awarded a public art commission in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2022.
Michelle Lisa Polissaint is a Haitian-American visual artist, arts organizer, and consultant based in Miami, Florida. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Florida International University with a concentration in photography and fiber-based painting with a minor in Art History. She has also completed coursework in non- profit management at Johns Hopkins University. As an artist, she explores the nature of human interaction through textiles and photographs. Her organizing practice is focused on overlapping art, community, and activism. She produces community-based activations and encourages artists and community members to form collaborative relationships. Her work has been shown internationally at various institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta Contemporary, the Girls’ Club Collection, and most recently La Villa du Parc. She is a current studio resident at Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, Florida.
Chire “VantaBlack” Regans'art practice exists at the intersection of social justice and storytelling. Her work responds to urgent societal concerns and functions as a critical platform to amplify the voices of community members who are often silenced. Over the past decade, Chire has focused primarily on community advocacy and depicting social narratives without distortion in various mediums. As a Saint Louis native, the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement triggered a sense of urgency in her art practice. Her work continues to evolve, allowing for broader social accessibility and creative scale. In South Florida, Chire continues to merge her artistic practice with community-led activism, emphasizing the art of storytelling as a means of engaging with communities with radical empathy and transparency.
Monica Sorelle is a Haitian-American filmmaker and artist born & based in Miami. Her work explores alienation and displacement and preserves cultural traditions within Miami & the Caribbean with a focus on the African & Latin diasporas that reside there. Monica’s feature directorial debut, Mountains (2023), world premiered at Tribeca Festival, where it was awarded a Special Jury Mention in the U.S. Narrative Feature competition. It went on to have its international premiere at TIFF, receive awards from BlackStar, New Orleans, Indie Memphis, New Hampshire, and Charlotte film festivals, and screen internationally, including at AFI Fest, Mill Valley Film Festival, and American Film Festival. Monica is a member of Third Horizon, a creative collective dedicated to developing, producing, exhibiting, and distributing work that gives voice to stories of the Caribbean, its diaspora, and other marginalized & underrepresented spaces in the Global South.
Symone Titania Major-Ferguson is an award-winning documentary photographer and storyteller. Her black-and-white photography shines light on overlooked stories within the Black Community and Archives the African American experience. She has received the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge in 2016 and 2021, The Ellies Creator Award from Oolite Arts in 2018, and the Miami Foundations Racial Equity Fund award in 2021. Her work offers a look into the living history of African Americans through documentary photography and film. It is through her practice that others can begin to see and understand the rich culture that is often overlooked in Black communities. Her goal is to open the window and shine a light on the positive and culture-shifting elements that make up the Black communities here in America and around the world.