Jamilah Sabur, Untitled (rhombus: above Lake Apopka North Shore) (detail), 2017, Video still, Courtesy of the artist
September 8–December 12, 2018

Jamilah Sabur

Ibine Ela Acu / Water Sun Moon

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College is pleased to announce the debut of Jamilah Sabur: Ibine Ela Acu/Water Sun Moon. The Miami-based artist’s first solo exhibition at a museum, it focuses on Central and Northern Florida history and traditions and will be on view through December 12, 2018. The title for the exhibition derives from the Timucua language. Sabur seeks to honor the Timucua while simultaneously making a complex and dynamic declaration about the past and our contemporary present.

Sabur’s art-making is shaped by metaphysics, family history and postcolonial theory; she often considers place (both real and imaginary), the gaps in-between, and the cicatrices that remain. She repeatedly mines historic texts and family histories in imagining both utopic spaces and specific places, such as her mother’s home in Jamaica. For her installation at the Cornell, Sabur focuses on the lands of Central and Northern Florida. Recently, Sabur has been traveling to the Lake Wales region, Lake Apopka, and St. Augustine, thinking about residue, and how the historical past of these lands interacts with the present. Layers of conflict—both human and environmental—resonate in her work.

The artist works across various disciplines including performance, video, and installation. Sabur was born in Saint Andrew, Jamaica and received her MFA in Visual Arts from University of California San Diego in 2014 and her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in Interdisciplinary Sculpture in 2009. She is interested in embodied cognition, social mimicry, dissonance, ritual, and the uncanny.

The exhibition includes recent 2-channel video works and a new neon sculpture. In Untitled (rhombus: above Lake Apopka North Shore), the artist enacts a performance on the highest point in the state of Florida. The rhombus, a reoccurring form in the artist’s work, recalls a similar shape found above the door in her mother’s childhood home. With Untitled (rhombus: cradling Mars west of the Sargasso Sea), Sabur performs a ritual on the northeast coast of Florida in Anastasia State Park. The rhombus functions as an extension of herself. In this work, she cradles Mars at dawn with the rhombus and honors the many people across centuries who have observed the same planet. Human experience and history collide in Sabur’s work.

This exhibition was organized by former Cornell Fine Arts Museum curator Amy Galpin, Ph.D., currently Chief Curator at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Florida International University in Miami. An accompanying brochure includes an essay on the artist’s work.

Jamilah Sabur, Untitled (rhombus: cradling Mars west of the Sargasso Sea), 2017, Video still, Courtesy of the artist

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