Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, Let’s re-name our city, one block at a time, 2020, black gesso, acrylic, colored pencil on plywood, hardware, 48 x 24 x variable dimensions.

Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo

February 20, 2021 April 03, 2021

SEPTEMBER is excited and grateful to be opening Let’s rename our city, an exhibition with Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, February 20 – March 28, 2021 (now extended through April 3). This is the artist’s third exhibition and first solo show with the gallery. Included are five paintings from their 2020 show at Yerba Buena Arts Center (San Francisco, CA) that were never on view to the public due to Covid disruptions and restrictions. Also on view are recent painted collages and free-standing works from their new studio. Branfman-Verissimo is temporarily living and working in Richmond, Virginia where they are investigating unseen and re-claimed histories including land, monuments, and black queer voices of the current moment. For their exhibition, Branfman-Verissimo is installing site-specific murals that engage the dual private/public space of the gallery windows facing the street, disrupt the white space of the interior walls, and re-route the path of the viewer. The artist is also providing printed takeaways in the form of visual and written language that will be available for and to the public.

Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo’s work is bold in pigment and text; bright yellow provokes the retina, and strong statements ignite the intellect. Through the layering of material and language, there are no clear starting or ending points within their work, nor within the experience of perceiving their work. The nonlinearity of individual pieces and of the show as a whole dismantles the notion of a dominant truth. Further, Branfman-Verissimo de-centers their own singularity by incorporating community spaces, entering collaborative modes, and activating other voices (past, present and future). They are creating space for multi-narratives, for truths outside of dominant spheres. Let’s rename our city is a call for ongoing reorientation and collective action.

Branfman-Verissimo writes,

What does it feel like in your body when reading a story that tells your story? I ask the viewer to stop and look closer, to examine how the obscured letters and forms challenge the way the story is told. The process of gathering the narratives of people and communities that surround me is on equal ground with the artistic craft of telling these stories. What is the role of the contemporary story collector within today’s society? How does preserving and prioritizing Black and Brown, queer, trans, gender non-conforming, lived experiences, work, activism and opinions, re-imagine our role in the future?

Through performance and interdisciplinary processes, I strive to re-create and re-tell my personal tales and those of the people that surround me. These process-based mediums reflect the multi-layered complexities of the voices echoed in the work. Through interacting with my art, I invite the viewer to recall and share their own lived narratives, offering power and weight to the creation of a larger dialogue around the telling of B.I.Q.T.P.O.C. stories.

Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo (she/her/they/them, b. 1993, Munsee Lenapa & Wappinger Lan [New York City, NY]) is a queer, black, artist, activist, educator, storyteller & curator who lives and works between Ohlone Land [Oakland, CA] and Powhatan Land [Richmond,VA]. Their work has been included in exhibitions and performances at EFA Project Space [New York City, NY], Leslie Lohman Museum for Gay & Lesbian Art [New York City, NY], Konsthall C [Stockholm,Sweden], STNDRD [Steuben,WI], Yerba Buena Center for the Arts [San Francisco, CA] and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive [Berkeley, CA], amongst others. Lukaza has been awarded residencies and fellowships at Kala Art Center [Berkeley, CA], ACRE Residency [Steuben, WI], Vermont Studio Center [Johnson, VT] and CENTER [Grand Rapids, MI]. For the past 5 years, Lukaza has been the Lead Curator/Director at Nook Gallery, collaborating with over 80+ artists, in a gallery located in their Oakland apartment kitchen. In the Fall of 2020 their newest artist book, We are all speaking at the same time, was released with Endless Editions [New York City, NY]. They got their BFA at California College of the Arts in Oakland, CA and are currently getting their MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.

SEPTEMBER is open Friday-Sunday: noon-5pm, and by appointment. There will be no opening reception due to safety precautions, and masks are required in the gallery. For further information, please visit the gallery or email kristen@septembergallery.com.