TIONA NEKKIA MCCLODDEN

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A few things I’ve been circling around for the past six months…

  1. I’ve kept this insert that was taped on the back of this film production still of Cicely Tyson performing as Harriet Tubman pulling an entire horse carriage. I featured the image in my installation for The Brad Johnson Tape, 2017. I was drawn to the length of the performance. Performing as an enslaved woman and pulling off this physical feat in real life struck me.
  2. This is a weird collage I made in 2008 when the recession hit. The images came from one of those volumes of ads from the 80s that I used to collect from flea markets for reference ideas. Found it again after my move into my new apt this March and was kind of taken aback by the timeliness of it all.
  3. My friend and curator Ladi’Sasha Jones gifted me this 1933 copy of STORY with a rare short by Zora Neale Hurston. I am a Hurston disciple and have been slowly collecting her rarer written works for many years.
  4. This is my Coreen Simpson Black Cameo Ring. I wore it out last year and even lost one of the faux diamonds. My Grandmother used to sell Mary Kay and Simpson did a custom line with their competitive brand Avon which a lot of Black women collected at the time. This was a big deal back in the day. I’ve been working to collect the entire series over the past few years and have gifted duplicates to a few women I know. I even used to play with the mini Mary Kay lipstick samples they used to have and it reminds me of that time.
  5. Frank Miller’s Martha Washington Goes to War, 1995. I collected comic books for many years and I have the entire Martha Washingon series and at one point thought I want to make a film about it but i’m not that disciplined to take on action in that way.
  6. When I visited Julius Eastman’s brother Gerry after I curated the retrospective exhibition project at The Kitchen in early 2018 he gave me three signed copies of an image he took of Julius performing in a dark room in NYC in the 80s. He printed from this huge office printer in his office area.
  7. My second favorite author after Toni Morrison is Percival Everett. I fell in love with his books after reading his collection of short stories Big Picture over a decade ago. When the pandemic caused the quarantine I immediately fell back into rereading and also ordering books of his that I had not read. In Big Picture there is this short about this guy who eats his blue paint that I identified with in this odd way and in this book this huge painting serves as a parallel to the sadness in the protagonist’s life. I was able to secure a canvas months ago of this size with my gallery’s assistance and drove to NY a few months ago which was terrifying in the height of the pandemic because it was a ghost town. I have embarked on making this painting myself perhaps to put the sadness into an object over time in the same way I suppose. It’s like an odd ritual of sorts.
  8. I have a few of these medical chart thingies and kept this Nasal Chamber scan in my bathroom for a while. As a kid I wanted to be a doctor and spent a lot of time with the Encyclopedia Britannica pages that tell you the bones and I’ve kept an interest in those images.
  9. These greeting cards from the exhibit STILL RAISING HELL: The Art, Activism, and Archives of James V. Hatch and Camille Billops have been in a stack of papers for a while. I might frame them because I have two sets.
  10. Dec 1988 National Geographic with the holographic cover, had this since I was a kiddie. Again, timely AF now that I am an adult and we are seemingly in the beginning of the apocalypse.
  11. Back in May I took a trip with my lady to this very strange run down amusement park ‘Holy Land’ in Waterbury, CT. It’s a Christian amusement park that has fallen into immense disrepair. I have been testing 16mm film stocks for an upcoming project and took my camera to film the park. When the film was developed and scanned it came back looking scary as all hell. I’ll never go back to that place again to say the least.

Tiona Nekkia McClodden is a visual artist, filmmaker, and curator whose work explores, and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and social commentary. McClodden’s interdisciplinary approach traverses documentary film, experimental video, sculpture, and sound installations. Themes explored in McClodden’s films and works have been re-memory and more recently narrative biomythography. McClodden has exhibited and screened work at the Institute of Contemporary Art-Philadelphia, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum, MOCA LA, Art Toronto’s VERGE Video program, MCA Chicago, @RAUMERWEITERUNGSHALLE in Berlin, MOMA PS1, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; Kansai Queer Film Festival in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan; and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, among others in a range of international film festivals and film programs. Tiona lives and works in North Philadelphia, PA and is represented by COMPANY Gallery in NYC.

www.tionam.com