My Breaking In is a solo exhibition by Amina Ross, comprised of three elements: video and photographic stills from the 2017 project Black Beauty; an untitled and ongoing sculpture project in which the artist has collected water in glass jars from their journeys; and a new, instrumental sound piece composed of piano and percussion, which will create an ambient soundscape for the entire installation.
Taking its title from the 1877 novel Black Beauty, about the life of a black horse, Ross’s Black Beauty project explores the complex and overlapping associations and connections between non-human animals and Black humans evoked by the words “black beauty”—including fear, anger, resistance, and release. Through a series of movement sequences built from meditation sessions Ross led with a group of participants, the photographs and video that make up Black Beauty reveal the potency of dance and ecstatic Black movement. Existing at the edge of legibility, where a mysterious darkness alternately envelops and reveals the dancers, these works speak to the power and beauty that may be found in a ritual act of letting go.
My Breaking In also features a new site-specific iteration of Ross’s untitled sculpture piece, sited in the gallery’s windows, comprised of shelves and jars of water collected over the last few years during the Covid pandemic. The bacteria and organisms in the jars—the water is collected from puddles and ponds—begin to grow, demonstrating the power of life to find possibilities for itself within containment. Placed in dialogue with each other in the gallery, these projects reinforce each other and foreground the theme of resilience in the face of constraint and restriction.
Amina Ross is an undisciplined artist, educator, and lifelong learner. Ross makes videos, sculptures, sounds, and situations that consider feeling, embodied knowledge, and intimacy as survival technologies for Black, queer, trans, and femme people. Their work questions how systems of power shape reality and how communities facing oppression navigate, resist, reimagine, and refigure these systems to thrive in safety.