Current Residents

We're so happy to have Salimatu here with us!

Below you can read about their practice, their installation project at 2727 - Black Convenience, their weekly culinary gathering - Tea and Toast, and how you can contribute to their upcoming exhibition.

Dear Papa J,

I’ve been thinking a lot about my handwriting lately. I saw Eremi and she complimented it, and I told her that the funny thing is I used to write like this. That was the style when I was in middle school, big bubble writing. Then she wrote me a Valentine’s day card and I just liked how she wrote. I started writing that way and over time it evolved into what it looks like now - a little bit more spindly and a little more rushed. She told me she had been copying her friend’s writing style too.

I’ve been thinking about how easily we absorb these things that seem so mundane. How we pass them between each other and they become a part of us. Handwriting feels so fundamental, but it is taught, learned, absorbed, just like everything else.

I remember how you told me once that people would see me as black before anything else. You told me that my mom would never understand my experience as a black person in this world. You told me it didn’t matter if my mom was white, no one would see that in me. Obama was running for president at the time and you told me that the world would know him as the first black president of the United States, not the first biracial president. That prediction was, of course, correct - as I’m sure you’ll love to hear.

It’s only in retrospect that I can crack the code of my childhood. I’m sure this is true for most. I understand now why people said the things they did. As a child, I remember looking at the back of my hand and thinking that mine were different from everyone else’s. They were a different color from yours, from Mom’s, from anyone else’s in our town. I remember the distinct feeling of surprise at my own newness. I was acknowledging that this body was still new to me, so new that sometimes I would forget that I was in it.

By now we’ve lived in so many places that no one place feels like home. I don’t know if you feel that way too. I feel at home in places where I don't feel inconvenient. Often, I feel that even well meaning white folks are not sure how to treat me. They stumble over words, they check my eyes for clues of offending me. I check theirs to gauge their level of discomfort. It doesn’t make me angry. It just makes me feel tired. Being around my community feels like a reprieve. Like the break I take before standing up, inhaling deeply and going back out into it. The more breaks I have, the stronger my laugh gets. Sometimes it gets so strong it shakes those shaky nervous folks into ease and we can pretend for a few minutes that we’re all in this together.

I don’t know what it would be like to always feel convenient. I’ve learned to suss out the scene before stepping in. I’ve learned to move with caution, to see where I fit in. I know that you grew up in a place where you didn’t have to do that, and you moved to a place where you did. You started a family here, built a life here. What did it give back to you?

Black Convenience is an installation from multimedia artist and chef, Salimatu Amabebe. Through a collection of hand-crafted objects such as Chocolate Afro Puffs Cereal, Amabebe reimagines the convenience store as a place for celebrating both personal and political black histories.

Coming in the Spring: Tea & Toast, Love Letters, & Black Feast

Past Events


    Sunday, April 25, 2021
  2. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, July 4, 2020
  3. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, June 27, 2020
  4. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, June 20, 2020
  5. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, June 13, 2020
  6. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, June 6, 2020
  7. Artist Talk: Salimatu Amabebe

    Wednesday, May 27, 2020
  8. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, May 23, 2020
  9. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, May 16, 2020
  10. Black Feast

    Sunday, May 10, 2020
  11. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, May 9, 2020
  12. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, May 2, 2020
  13. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, April 25, 2020
  14. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, April 18, 2020
  15. Tea and Toast

    Saturday, March 7, 2020
  16. Poetry Club

    Wednesday, October 30, 2019
    Oct 30, 3:30pm-5:30pm
  17. Poetry Club

    Wednesday, October 23, 2019
    Oct 23, 3:30pm-5:30pm
  18. Path of Unspecified Things

    A Guide on Collaboration Between Blind and Sighted Artists
    Monday, October 14, 2019
    October 14th, 7pm
  19. Poetry Reading with Kayla Ephros, Gin Hart and Emily Stebbins

    Saturday, October 12, 2019
    Oct 12, 7pm
  20. The Gate Opens!

    No School Gatemakers
    Sunday, May 26, 2019
  21. Sunday Studio: Gatemakers 4

    finishing up!
    Sunday, May 26, 2019
    12pm - 4:45pm
  22. Sunday Studio: Gatemakers 3

    the welding continues
    Sunday, May 19, 2019
    12pm - 5pm

    with Graham Landine
    Wednesday, May 15, 2019
    7pm - 10pm
  24. Sunday Studio: Gatemakers 2

    Welding begins!
    Sunday, May 12, 2019
  25. Queer Time Travel

    Wednesday, March 6, 2019
    7:00 - 9:00PM