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Prospect.5: “Yesterday we said tomorrow"


Prospect New Orleans is proud to present its fifth edition, Yesterday we said tomorrow, curated by Artistic Directors Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi. Open October 23, 2021 through January 23, 2022, Prospect.5 took place in museums, cultural spaces, and public sites throughout New Orleans. The exhibition featured artists based in the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe, many of whom produced newly commissioned projects. Yesterday we said tomorrow also introduces Programming Partners, a new collaborative element unique to Prospect.5.

The exhibition title Yesterday we said tomorrow is drawn from New Orleans–born jazz musician Christian Scott’s socially conscious 2010 album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow. The unspoken present is centermost in this frame, the site where past and future converge, which has always contained the possibility of other courses. Yesterday we said tomorrow addresses the social body and the individual, suggesting the deferral of structural and political change. The exhibition took its cues from the specificity of our moment and of New Orleans itself, a city where inextricable layers of history and culture are always present and where performance and resistance define daily life in ways both literal and metaphoric. 

Artists employed diverse readings, interpretative models, and various forms to create a polyvocal retelling of history that is attuned to our complex era. Resistance and liberation have taken many forms; this exhibition is interested in these strategies that rely on the embodied, the imagined, the scholarly, the irrational, the felt, the connective, and the firsthand. 

For Prospect.5, Keith and Nawi have convened a coalition of emerging cultural producers to create public programming in New Orleans throughout 2020 leading up to the triennial and during the exhibition: Grace Deveney, Kimberly Drew, Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Kristina Kay Robinson, and Maricelle Robles. These program partners will realize a diverse range of events in collaboration with venues across the city, from museums and cultural centers to theaters and bars, bringing unique perspectives to the exhibition’s themes through their own work. They will create programs in partnership with local organizations that illuminate, expand, complicate, and challenge the ideas of the triennial. The programming partner concept a new model for Prospect and reflects from the artistic directors’ dialogic approach to this exhibition.The last edition of Prospect New Orleans’s triennial, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp (P.4), took place from November 16, 2017 to February 25th, 2018. This critically acclaimed exhibition featured more than seventy artists selected by Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker. During its run, Prospect.4 engaged over 100,000 visitors through the exhibition as well as educational and public programs. 

About Prospect 

A recurring civic exhibition of art is an idea that originated with the Venice Biennale in 1895. Designed according to this model, Prospect is a citywide contemporary art triennial and the only exhibition of its kind in the US with a decade-long history. 

Every three years, Prospect invites artists from all over the world to create projects in a wide variety of venues spread throughout New Orleans. Prospect brings new art to an old city, both inviting artists from around the globe to engage with New Orleans and raising the voices of artists who represent the Global South. Many Prospect projects are rooted in social justice issues and the city of New Orleans itself. Each iteration of Prospect is organized by a leading voice in the curatorial field. For residents and visitors alike, Prospect is an invitation to experience the city through the eyes of artists. 

Prospect is also more than a recurring exhibition. In collaboration with local organizations and community partners, our year-round programming generates platforms for past and present Prospect artists in our community, sparking dialogues with youth, students, and the general public. Learn more:

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