Alexandria Smith: A Litany for Survival

November 8, 2018–January 27, 2019 | Opening Reception: Sat., November 10 @ 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Stone Gallery
855 Commonwealth Avenue
Tuesday–Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m.


A Litany for Survival, Alexandria Smith’s first solo exhibition in Boston, is an installation of recent figure-based paintings and drawings that explore Black female subjectivity. Smith’s tonally rich canvases often centralize pairs of female figures that reside within environments that are subtly political and at times, intentionally nondescript. Depicted in profile, Smith’s figures are simultaneously mirror image and twins. Through these painterly acts of doubling, Smith embodies multiple states of being, while also exploring concepts of hybridity and duality. A Litany for Survival draws its title from the Audre Lorde poem of the same name, pointing to the political implications of the Black body. Working within a primary palette of black, blues, purples, and greys, Smith’s paintings illuminate the complexities of Black identity through subtle gradations of color, dark light, and shadow.

Image:  Alexandria Smith, The Nocturnes (detail), 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 84 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Panel Discussion
It is better to speak of remembering
Thursday, November 15, 6:00pm
Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery

This panel explores the complex cultural positionality of Black female subjectivity. Approached through an interdisciplinary lens, participants will speak to the experiences and histories of Black women and how these concepts relate to themes present in the exhibition.

Participants include:
Tomashi Jackson, Visual Artist
Ja’Tovia Gary, Artist, filmmaker and 2018-2019 Radcliffe-Harvard Film Study Center Fellow
Nikki A. Greene, Assistant Professor of Art History, Department of Art, Wellesley College
Charlotte Brathwaite, Freelance Director and Assistant Professor of Music and Theater at MIT
Moderated by Alexandria Smith


Artist Talk

Tuesday, November 27, 7:30-9:00pm

Room 346, 3rd Floor
808 Commonwealth Avenue

Co-presented with the School of Visual Arts Graduate Programs in Painting and Sculpture at Boston University. Free and open to the public.


Dance Performance + Catalogue Launch 
Camille A. Brown & Dancers:  Double This, Juba That
Sunday, January 20, 6:00pm
Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery

Double This, Juba That, the opening duet from the evening length work, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, uses the rhythmic play of African-American dance vernacular including social dancing, double dutch, steppin’, tap, Juba, ring shout, and gesture as the Black woman’s domain to evoke childhood memories of self-discovery. The entire work reveals the complexity of carving out a self-defined identity as a Black female in urban American culture.

The performance coincides with a catalogue launch and closing reception for Alexandria Smith: A Litany for Survival.



Piece by Pamela Reynolds in WBUR’s The ARTery on “Alexandria Smith: A Litany for Survival.” November 5, 2018.