A community choice.
Tafari Robertson is an artist and speculative historian exploring the possibilities of a framework centering the stories carried by Black people every day. Robertson will be working with The Library Company as a Community Change partner for their Beyond Glass Cases project developing a speculative history that imagines a process of historical authorization that begins with Black people, discounts the negligence of White historians, and plays in the legacies of people, such as Dorothy Porter Wesley, who have done this work before.
Initiating the creation of a Memory Workers Guild: History Department, Robertson will gather a task force of community peers to establish certifying documents, host media making sessions, and perform the permanence that codifies value in history as we know. Subverting and calling to question the sense of value erupted by empirical historical praxis, the MWG: History Department will move through the frame of collective memory and community trust to create a history that prioritizes the value of the people who first hold it with care.
Tafari Robertson is a multidisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia, PA. He began his artist journey through painting, illustration and now works across mediums to explore the experiences layered within Black cultural spaces. He questions what are the artistic effects of space, the elements that create those experiences, and what ripples out when these spaces are created, sustained or destroyed.
His Book Space Archive is a series of audio collages developed through an investigative oral history practice conducted with historically Black bookstores across the U.S. Through interviews with owners and patrons, he pieces together themes and histories to create a new conversation for audiences to engage with, highlighting the energies preserved in these spaces that have upheld Black culture and are too often lost without notice.
Currently developing his speculative practice, his Future Forms explore the effects of administrative design toward creating perceptions of permanence and authority as pillars for institutional buy-in. He uses this work to build on the imaginative possibilities of creating new worlds for those ignored or diminished in our current frameworks.