Zakkiyyah Najeebah Dumas-O’neal
May 21 – June 4, 2021
Zakkiyyah Najeebah Dumas-O’neal is a Chicago based multidisciplinary artist, arts educator, and independent curator. Najeebah Dumas O’neal’s work is most often initiated by personal and social histories related to family legacy, queerness, community making, intimacy, and interiority. Her practice borrows from visual traditions such as social portraiture, video assemblage, drawing, collage, and found images.
She makes work to further understand and investigate how her own singular lived experiences, and others are connected to broader shared histories and social/cultural experiences. In addition to this investigation, there’s a commitment to reinforcing a different kind of gaze (and gazing) enacted through empathy, desire, love, softness, and longing. Najeebah Dumas O’neal is continuously exploring how these feelings (within all her work and through engagement), are exchanged between herself, her family, collaborators of her portraits, and those who experience the work.
My work functions as a meditation of my own sublime feelings regarding touch, belonging, desire, and familial legacy. In addition to my own experiences regarding belonging and emotional states of tenderness – I’ve been thinking deeply about what it means to create work that imagines ways of being beyond the systems we inhabit.
My most recent work in progress explore the unveiling and honoring of writer and activist Lorraine Hansberry through parts of her concealed lesbian identity. As i rewrite by hand the short fictional love stories she’s left behind, i’m considering, at what lengths, by which means do Black queer women both protect and unveil themselves through public persona, interiority, and poetics. Najeebah Dumas O’neal’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions and several solo exhibitions at ADDS DONNA, Mana Contemporary, and South Bend Museum of Art to name a few. She has also curated exhibitions at spaces such as Chicago Art Department, Blanc Gallery and Washington Park Arts Incubator at the University of Chicago. She most recently held the 2019- 20 Jackman Goldwasser Residency at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. She is also a co-founder of CBIM (Concerned Black Image Makers): a collective driven project that prioritizes shared experiences
Post Residency Feedback
This has to be the best and most reflective residency I’ve done, considering it’s immersion in nature and closeness to the water. My heart feels full and my mind feels a lot clearer.