"Living in Eden," Gavin Andrew Benjamin, 2021
With a series of 12 photographic panels, Gavin Andrew Benjamin examines the impact of colonialism, mass media and the lived environment on the identities of Black and immigrant people.
Living in Eden (2021) by Gavin Andrew BenjaminMattress Factory
The images – collaged with pages from home catalogs, news articles and self-portraiture – offer an introspective look into Benjamin’s experience as a Guyanese-born Pittsburgh resident, code-switching between domestic and public spaces.
"Black Community Survival Conference," Naomi Chambers, 2021
Naomi Chambers draws upon the Black Panther Party’s Black Community Survival Conferences of the 1970s and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to imagine a modern convening where love, light, food and play are emphasized as necessities for the Black community to survive and to thrive.
Black Community Survival Conference Tea Party Ice Cream Social Moonlit Cinema (2021) by Naomi ChambersMattress Factory
Chambers invites us to a wonderland of assemblage, paintings, sculpture and animation, and asks us to think about the ways we can come together to care for each other.
“Did you get everything?,” Njaimeh Njie, 2021
This two room installation transports visitors to the familiar setting of a living room and kitchen filled with relatives, overflowing with conversation and laughter. Moving boxes, suitcases, and walls showing where pictures used to live, allude to the precarity of housing for Black families in Pittsburgh.
"Did you get everything?" (2021) by Njaimeh NjieMattress Factory
“Did you get everything?” prompts consideration for the memories, traditions and lessons we take with us when we leave our homes.
"Good/Bones," Justin Emmanuel Dumas, 2021
In Good/Bones, Justin Emmanuel Dumas builds the interior and exterior of a home, centering the central threshold as a meditation on liminality. In this installation, Dumas considers the hero’s journey and the transformation that occurs between departure and return.
Good/Bones (2021) by Justin Emmanuel DumasMattress Factory
By repurposing architectural remnants and manipulating a variety of materials, the artist asks us to look closer at the overlooked and to reconsider the use and histories of objects.
"Sed Valorem," Harrison Kinnane Smith, 2021
Sed Valorem is a financial intervention in which the artist arranged for the Mattress Factory to mortgage its property to reimburse a nearby Black homeowner for all excessive property taxes he will pay over the next 15 years as a result of racially discriminatory practices.
Sed Valorem (2021) by Harrison Kinnane SmithMattress Factory
Smith’s installation uses sculpture, video, photography and legal documents to demonstrate how Black homes are commercially devalued and subject to higher taxation.