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help me re-contextualize black bodies in weightless space-liberated from the gravity of oppression and white supremacy.
205 backers pledged $40,056 to help bring this project to life.
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NORTH STAR

I'm excited to introduce you to North Star, my most ambitious undertaking yet! North Star interrupts and reimagines the narrative of the Black body in Western art history and contemporary art. By freeing the Black body of gravity it hopes to separate the body from the weight of terrestrial oppression. As a video, North Star will feature the reactions of Black participants as they experience weightlessness for the first time. To produce this project, I'll be taking 10 participants on parabolic flights to film. The planes will climb and free fall from a high altitude, creating a temporary zero-gravity environment. I need your support to help me make this happen!


Why This Project is Important

There is a noticeable absence of Black Rhapsody within Western art histories and cultural institutions – a vacancy that is deliberate and part of a legacy that subverts the expression and resonance of Black Rhapsody globally. The Black body is too often saddled as a station of trauma and violence, making rhapsody an anomaly, happening in spite of this assumed “inherent state” of the Black body. Within this model, the perpetual gravity of white supremacy and oppression is implicitly understood as the necessary conceit for fleeting moments of joy – of lift-off – before a return to the assumed state of normalcy.

North Star asks: What does the Black body, devoid of the “inescapable” gravity of oppression, look like? What is the Black body in zero gravity?

    North Star will be a video installation that engages refraction as a strategy for resistance. This work looks to re-contextualize the site of Blackness and Black bodies and will feature people from across the African diaspora floating nude and unencumbered in a zero-gravity environment. Their reactions and expressions will be captured via high-speed camera. The figures will bloom and recede into one another through prismatic refraction. North Star intersects with Fluxus and Afro-Futurist movements, and with space exploration in post-colonial Africa.

As an artist who engages with socially critical content, I deeply believe that artists have the ability to push societal conversations forward, offering new ways of seeing and experiencing that can produce positive cultural change. Battling white supremacy and oppression requires unity and community and importantly a challenge to the structures that allow it to persist. North Star will offer a new language, a new way of seeing Black bodies and, most importantly, a real way of experiencing Black bodies that will contribute to a building movement of work that stands to re-contextualize and re-claim the Black experience and, in doing so, begin to enable lasting change.

In July, I was invited to be part of the inaugural group of fellows at Kehinde Wiley's Black Rock Senegal residency, where I'll be developing this project over the fall and winter. Thank you for your support!


About the Artist

Kambui Olujimi was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn and received his MFA from Columbia University in New York City. Olujimi’s work challenges established modes of thinking that commonly function as “inevitabilities.” This pursuit takes shape through interdisciplinary bodies of work spanning sculpture, installation, photography, writing, video and performance. His solo exhibitions include: Zulu Time at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; A Life in Pictures at MIT List Visual Arts Center; Solastalgia at Cue Arts Foundation; and Wayward North at Art in General. His works have premiered nationally at The Sundance Film Festival, Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Mass MoCA. Internationally his work has been featured at The Jim Thompson Art Center in Bangkok; Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Finland and Para Site in Hong Kong among others.

 Olujimi has been awarded residencies from Black Rock Senegal, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and MacDowell Colony. He has received grants and commissions from numerous institutions including The Jerome Foundation, NFYA/NYSCA Fellowship, and MTA Arts & Design. His work has been featured in news media and periodicals such as The New Yorker, Art Forum, Art in America, Brooklyn Rail, CNN, PBS, and The New York Times. Monographs on his past project include Zulu Time (2017), Wayward North (2012), The Lost Rivers Index (2007), Walk the Plank (2006), and Winter in America (in collaboration with Hank Willis Thomas, 2006).


What Will Your Contribution Support

Kickstarter funders will help to underwrite camera and lighting cost, production crew,  participant fees, post-production, and help offset the cost of the parabolic flights, 

$10+ Contribution: I'm excited to share a list of science fiction and surreal movies that have inspired and left a lasting impression on me as an artist and movie buff.
$25+ Contribution: A custom designed North Star postcard for you to keep or share.
$50+ Contribution: A nostalgic relic of a future past.
$100+ Contribution: “Fresh Cut” was inspired by barbershop posters of traditional Rwandan hairstyles. The original ink drawings were part of “And Sometimes Why,” a large-scale installation commissioned by The Studio Museum in Harlem in 2019
$250+ Contribution: “Astronaut” was inspired by 16-year old aspiring astronaut, Matha Mwamba. In the wake of Zambia’s independence from the British in 1964, Mwamba joined the newly formed Zambian space program. The drawings were part of “And Sometimes Why,” a large installation commissioned by The Studio Museum in Harlem in 2019
$500+ Contribution: “Fresh Cut” was inspired by barbershop posters of traditional Rwandan hairstyles. The original ink drawings were part of “And Sometimes Why” a large installation commissioned by The Studio Museum in Harlem in 2019.
$500+ Contribution: “Fresh Cut” hand painted riso print. Backers will receive one unique print from the edition.
$750+ Contribution: A wearable brooch in the vein of “Blackout Collection” and “Killing Time” series.
$750+ Contribution: A wearable brooch in the vein of “Blackout Collection” and “Killing Time” series.
$750+ Contribution: A wearable brooch in the vein of “Blackout Collection” and “Killing Time” series.
$1000+ Contribution: A video still from the full dome planetarium film, “Skywriters,” commissioned by the Newark Museum in 2018. The animated film is part of the museum’s permanent collection.
$1750+ Contribution: Come join me for a fun and delicious brunch: good food, good folks, and new memories.
$3000+ Contribution: Choose from one of twelve lithographs that comprised the solo exhibition, “Constellations,” at the Newark Museum in 2018-19, and now part of its permanent collection. The portfolio depicts newly imagined constellations from the artist’s novella, “Wayward North.” Selections from the portfolio will be first come, first serve.
$5000+ Contribution: These ink drawings represent preliminary thoughts and myriad aesthetics possibilities. Each drawing is an original. Backers will make their selections in the order of their pledges.
$10000+ Contribution: Receive the final “North Star” video to add to or begin your art collection.

Risks and challenges

The challenges of filming in the extreme environments of zero gravity and 2g will be addressed through both research and training for the film crew.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Sci Fi Movie List

    Get into my head with a list of influential Sci Fi movies that have inspired my work for years.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Custom North Star Postcard

    A postcard with a design based on a North Star concept drawing.

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    North Star Polaroid Replica Magnets

    Magnets formatted like Polaroids featuring "North Star" concept drawings.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    "Matha" Risograph Print: Astronaut

    Limited edition 11 x 17 Risograph print titled "Matha" signed. Inspired by Zambia’s National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy and 16-year-old Matha Mwamba, an aspiring astronaut. This three-color Riso ships flat.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    "Fresh Cut" Risograph and Monotype Print

    Limited edition 11 x 17 Risograph and monotype print titled "Fresh Cut," signed. This hand-painted Riso print ships flat.

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    Pledge US$ 750 or more About US$ 750

    Brooch Collar with Chain- Artist made

    Brooch collar with chain, fashioned in a style similar to the "Blackout Collection" series.

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    Limited 2 backers
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    "Skywriters" Video Still

    14 x 14" Digital inkjet-printed video still from "Skywriters," a planetarium film commissioned by the Newark Museum for their permanent collection. This work ships flat.

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    Pledge US$ 1,750 or more About US$ 1,750

    Dinner with Kambui + Film Credit Line

    ARTIST DINNER EXPANDED- 2 additional tickets:
    Bring a guest and let's talk space and the universe and everything else under the sun over a delicious meal. Plus receive a film credit.

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    Pledge US$ 3,000 or more About US$ 3,000

    "Wayward North Lithograph"

    Lithographs from the original drawing used to create the constellations in the "Wayward North" project, signed. Plus receive a film credit. Lithographs are 18x 23 inches. This work ships flat.

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    Original "North Star" Concept Drawing

    An original 11 x 14 "North Star" concept drawing, signed. Plus receive a film credit. This ink work ships flat.

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    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    "North Star" The Finished Video Piece

    The finished "North Star" video piece. Plus receive a film credit.

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    "Fresh Cut" Risograph Print

    Limited edition 11 x 17 Risograph print titled "Fresh Cut," signed. This two-color Riso ships flat.

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    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About US$ 1,500

    Dinner with Kambui + Film Credit Line

    Bring a guest and let's talk space and the universe and everything else under the sun over a delicious meal. Plus receive a film credit.

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)