Cicely J. Sweed

Cicely J. Sweed is an independent curator, writer, entrepreneur and educator. She is founder and principal consultant at Art_Social_Enterprise Studio (ÀSEstudio), a social practice firm that works with clients to curate exhibitions and events that philanthropically support arts education and creative enterprise initiatives.

Her projects have included: Juried Annual 2012 (Guest Curator), ProArts Gallery; Inner City Advisors (ICA) 11th Annual Business Reception (2011); Transformative Visions 2011, OneLife Institute; 2 x 2 Solos: Elisheva Biernoff, ProArts Gallery (2010); Metamorphosis: Works by AbbaYahudah, CIIS (2010); Geo-Frequencies: Eco-Arts In Action, San Francisco Green Festival (2009); Mi Tierra, Mi Corazon: A Diasporic Offering To The Ancestors (2009); Salma Arastu: Lyrical Visions, CIIS (2009); Henry Sultan: A Retrospective, CIIS (2009); Richard Bolingbroke: Love, Life and Death CIIS (2009); Bay Area Guide To Independent Fashion Festival, YBCA (2008); Bay Area Now: BAN5, YBCA (2008).

She currently serves as juror for ProArts Gallery in Oakland and the San Francisco Women Artists Gallery and has worked as a curator for California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), Twiga Gallery, and the African-American Art & Culture Center in San Francisco. She holds a bachelor degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, a masters degree in Visual Criticism from CCA, and is a Green MBA candidate in Sustainable Enterprise from Dominican University of California.


About Cicely Sweed’s Thesis Project

Cicely J. Sweed

The Search for Angela Davis: A Meditation on Revolutionary Commodities and Neo-Hoodoo Advertising

As the genesis of a much larger thesis on the relationship between subcultural style commodities and the creation of revolutionary icons/political celebrities and modes of dissent, this section of the thesis investigates the co-optation of the visual narratives of the revolutionary icon or celebrity in consumer culture. More specifically, it will establish the historical and cultural narratives embedded in the different faces and appropriations of Angela Davis as a symbol at the forefront of the black liberation struggle. These narratives demonstrate how the popularity and commodification of a revolutionary icon can serve as commentary on the increasing historical amnesia of the resistance or liberation movements associated with the icon. As visual narratives in the historical trip of co-optation, the widespread reappropriation of these icons stands as a testament to both the political empowerment and disempowerment of the people who embrace them with a desire to access that revolutionary history.

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