Anonymous donations are given either voluntarily or involuntarily. At one end of the spectrum, an anonymous donation represents the self-effacing gesture of a philanthropist. On the other end of the spectrum is the systemic erasure of the work of dehumanized laborers. Anonymous Donor considers the hidden contributions that have helped shape our contemporary moment.
Inspired by ere ibeji figures-Yoruba sculptures created to honor the spirit of a deceased twin-the exhibition features works by Kara Walker, Elizabeth Catlett, Alma Thomas, Jordan Weber, American Artist, and the Yoruba peoples. All of the artwork collected in this exhibition sheds light on the path we have taken to get to the present moment and suggests, at each turn, a parallel (or twin) story to the widely accepted narrative.
A newly commissioned work by American Artist re-imagines contemporary technology with black consumers in mind, while Alma Thomas' work reminds us of black women's participation in abstract art movements. The works by Kara Walker and Elizabeth Catlett illuminate lineages of invisible caretaking and emphasize interdependence over independence, while Jordan Weber's meditation cushions create a reflective moment in which to contemplate the role of air pollutants in our nation's history. Finally, the two pairs of Yoruba ere ibeji sculptures suggest that the living and the dead may be more intertwined than meets the eye.
This exhibition was curated by Anaïs Duplan, Program Manager at Recess (New York) and founding curator of the Center for Afrofuturist Studies (Iowa City). Anonymous Donor was organized by Legacies for Iowa: A University of Iowa Museum of Art Collections-Sharing Project, supported by the Matthew Bucksbaum Family.