Between Us: 3.9 Collective, Protection Spells and "Black Magic"

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In the 2010 census, the African American population of San Francisco -- a city rich in Black politics, art and creativity -- had declined to 3.9 percent. If, as the 3.9 collective mandate states, being "Black" is now synonymous with "vanishing," what does it mean to be Black, creative and in America at this time? In their response to the Native Art Department International's prompt of investigating "protection spells" during this time of universal upheaval, the 3.9 collective situates the concepts of "protection," "strength," "resilience," and "endurance" as both individual, embodied practices and collective acts of creative and cultural production. In this conversation, they will unpack the conceptual framework for their Shift Key-created project, "Black Magic," exploring what it means to bear witness to, for and with a dwindling population of African Americans -- creative and otherwise -- in an increasingly gentrified locale.

Artist BIO

The 3.9 Art Collective

The 3.9 Art Collective is an association of African American artists, curators, and art writers who live in San Francisco, and who came together to draw attention to the city’s dwindling black population. The 3.9 Art Collective bears witness to this phenomenon and seeks to reverse it by drawing attention to the historical and ongoing presence of black artists in the city and creative expression in its black communities. Through multiple forms of presentation and outreach, we create and claim spaces to display our art work; nurture young artists and develop educational programs for students; and write about and curate exhibitions meant to generate productive, cross-cultural dialogues.

Image Credit: 3.9 Banner, 3.9 Art Collective