In Praise of Black Errantry

17 Apr 2024 – 29 Jun 2024

Regular hours

11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00

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Palazzo Pisani S. Marina

Veneto, Italy

Event map

During the 60th Venice Biennale, Unit presents In Praise of Black Errantry, a group exhibition that celebrates the Black radical imagination.


Errantry is a poetics.  —  Édouard Glissant

Errantry defines the Black diaspora and its imaginary. The Martinique-born French writer and philosopher Édouard Glissant (1928–2011) proposed errantry as a form of freedom and resistance. For Glissant, errantry evoked a spiritual or purposeful wandering beyond national borders or the limits of exile. As a mode of survival, errantry infers fugitivity as well as improvisation. Underlying the emergence of Black modernity, errantry has engendered the dissonance of jazz, the politics of refusal, and ultimately, revolution.

In Praise of Black Errantry explores the poetics of errantry as an aesthetic possibility. The Afro-diasporic artists in this exhibition take up errantry as a radical strategy that defies boundaries, advocating spontaneity and experimentation beyond cultural fixity or political containment. Spanning different themes, the exhibition considers how artists have refuted conventional codes of representation or pushed against the constraints of formal rules of style, colour, medium, or genre towards technical innovation, artistic evolution, and liberation.

The poetics of errantry offers a counter-discourse about Black cultural production, raising critical questions: how has errantry been employed aesthetically and politically as a form of Black dissent? How do incidental encounters of the itinerant or the arbitrary inform technical and formal innovations as well as other artistic freedoms? How do the terms of disobedience and waywardness figure in the art of the Black diaspora?

  • Artwork © Adelaide Damoah

  • Artwork © Adelaide Damoah

  • Artwork © Adelaide Damoah

On view from 17 April–29 June, In Praise of Black Errantry is curated by Indie A. Choudhury (The Courtauld Institute of Art) with assistant curator Kelsey Corbett (Unit). The exhibition will be held in the Palazzo Pisani S. Marina, a 15th-century palazzo located in the Cannaregio area of Venice and depicted in a Renaissance painting by Jacopo de’ Barbari. The palazzo was previously host to the Diaspora Pavilion in 2017 and the Croatia National Pavilion in 2015.

The accompanying exhibition catalogue will include contributions by the curator Indie A. Choudhury, Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art; artist Jonathan Lyndon Chase; award-winning poet Roger Robinson; and Robert G. O’Meally, the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University.

In Praise of Black Errantry marks Unit’s inaugural presentation at the Venice Biennale as part of the gallery’s continuing commitment to research-led initiatives that nurture artists and contribute to contemporary cultural discourse beyond conventional programming structures.

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