Adee Roberson, Offerings

Adee Roberson, Offerings, 2019

Medium: Video, 5 minutes, 5 seconds

Credits: Collection of the artist


Video Transcript

The Offerings video is a performance piece that I worked on with collaborator Keyon Gaskin. It's really thinking about what it means to be stolen bodies on stolen land, like the movement, the drum play is a type of spiritual or ritual offering to the land.

We've particularly did it right across from Noah Purifoy, Desert Art Museum, to really activate and perform in that lineage.

So we're performing the lineage of black artists. We're also performing on indigenous land. And so we really wanted the piece to just be in that, that's what the energy of the piece is, maybe not a language response that you can give to what it means to be stolen body on stolen land.

And so I think using the sound, using instruments and using movement was a way to open up that dialogue.


Audio Transcript

The performance you see in Adee Roberson’s video Offerings came out of a visit to the artist Noah Purifoy’s outdoor sculpture park located in Joshua Tree.

A well-known assemblage artist and community activist, Noah set up residence in the high desert in 1989. Since his passing in 2004, the multi-acre site is now a beacon for visitors seeking to learn more about the artist’s prolific and monumental sculpture practice.

While visiting the site Roberson and her collaborator Keyon Gaskin felt compelled to make an offering to the land. Filled with meditative drumming and dance, Roberson and Gaskin found bodily connection to the histories and scepters of the past, describing the experience as kind of reclamation of the land, through stolen bodies performing on stolen land.

Note the painted canvas in the performance, which is also installed elsewhere in this gallery. The sculptural qualities of paint and canvas are extremely important in Roberson’s installations, whether pinned on a wall or draped on a rock or a body.

The collaborative nature of Roberson’s practice is also significant, expressing the artist’s relationship to an expanded and egalitarian sense of authorship in the creative process.