Lydia Y. Nichols is an award-winning cultural critic, arts worker, and troublemaker native to New Orleans. Her writing blends critical race/gender theory, empirical research, and creative non-fiction in examining images and language in visual art, literature, film, and vernacular culture. Lydia’s work has been published by 64 Parishes, The Grio, The Lens, Pelican Bomb, and Tribes Magazine, among others. Since her curatorial debut in 2014 - with the internationally acclaimed street art exhibition ExhibitBE, she has continued to expand thought and practice as both a curator and a critic. In 2015, Lydia completed a month-long residency at the Joan Mitchell Center, then under the helm of Gia Hamilton. She curated a series of discursive mobile exhibitions entitled “In/Between Spaces”; the first of its kind in New Orleans, “In/Between Spaces” traveled to Black communities alienated from arts institutions to facilitate discourse about social justice ten years post-Katrina through the work of Black and Brown contemporary artists. In 2016, Lydia was invited to participate in NYC-based ICI’s exclusive Curatorial Intensive and is a member of the organization. She continues to work with ExhibitBE collaborator, artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums, to produce educational programs for his most recent project, Studio Be. She has also worked with major arts institutions like the Contemporary Arts Center and Prospect New Orleans to create educational programs. Lydia led research on the documentary film Mossville: When Great Trees Fall, which has received several awards since its April 2019 premiere.
She is a Sagittarius Sun, Cancer rising, and Aquarius moon; a member of the fire clan according to the Dagara people of Burkina Faso; and an INTP. Her last psychic told her she came from good people, and she believes it.
Modern Maroon is a living anthology that explores the relationship between contemporary aesthetics and traditions of Black survival independent of the State.
Modernity is an aesthetic conveyed through the material culture of the First World, the "developed" Global North, the three most prominent symbols of which are the skyscraper (post industrial intellectual labor-based economy), the car (mobility), and the computer (automated communication and documentation) - with the photograph as an auxiliary through which these symbols have been consecrated and disseminated.
Marronage is the practice of escaping enslavement with no intention of return or of eventual integration into the dominant social fabric.
In the First World, where our ability to communicate, to document, to mobilize, and to move seemingly depends upon (1) our place in the intellectual labor-based economy and (2) our use of tools created to colonize and/or to maintain colonization, how and to where do we escape?
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Lydia can be reached at email@example.com.