Exhibition Statement

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On-n-On: Ciara Elle Bryant in Conversation with Octavia E. Butler will place Bryant’s new media installation work in dialogue with Butler’s literary influence on contemporary art practices. The exhibition will showcase Hamon Arts Library holdings related to Octavia Butler’s writing alongside a mixed media installation by Dallas artist Ciara Elle Bryant pertaining to identity, bibliography, and virtuality. The exhibition will embrace the influence of Black speculative fiction on technology and futurity in contemporary art while also recognizing the ways in which artists may reinterpret or reinvent this legacy. The exhibition will take place in the Hawn Gallery in the Hamon Arts Library, leveraging the space’s connections to literature, art exhibition, and art education as well as its proximity to practicing artists.

Artist Statement

On-n-On is to Archive. To continue. To print. To assemble. To cipher. A zero. An infinite.

Over time we change and evolve over and over, On-n-On.

On-n-On is an installation of works that looks at the agency of Black existence in the future. Specifically looking at Octavia Butler and Butler’s main character Lilith from the Lilith's Brood series, the installation constructs and interrupts the evolution of Afrofuturism in the context of contemporary new media processes.

Legacy and Identity continue to embed and burrow in the lineage of future generations. One can only predict what the future will hold or how it will look, or even how it will smell. On-n-On is an ode to the unknown and the unseen. ‘My cypher keeps moving like a rolling stone’. Octavia Butler lays out how a Black future could look, based on knowledge, predictions, and the archive of history. I take what she provides and imagine it for myself. Agency in the form of resilience, is the need to keep going. It is where the future lies. The method and thoughts of the archive have been present in my work for years. Butler, an archivist herself, provides countless records of information that she has used in preparation for her literary works. On-n-On: Ciara Elle Bryant in conversation with Octavia E. Butler, dives into the archives to construct a view of Butler's process of creating her works.

‘My cypher keeps moving like a rolling stone’

- Erykah Badu, 1997, On&On


Ciara Elle Bryant is a multidisciplinary creative working and residing in Dallas, TX. Bryant is a Southern Methodist University graduate with a Masters of Fine Art. Bryant uses photography, video and mixed media installations to discuss identity and culture and how it exists in the new millennium.

Sophia Salinas is the curator of On-n-On and a second-year PhD student in the RASC/a art history program. Her research interests include modern and contemporary art with attention to themes of gender, race, and embodiment, as well as new media art.

Opening on September 1st, 5-7 pm:

This exhibition runs from September 1st – October 16th.

In conjunction with O-n-On, a panel with the artist, Ciara Elle Bryant, will occur with a date TBA.

Thank you to Friends of SMU Libraries for partial support of this exhibition.

Exhibition Statement