In One Form or Another; Verse One
Nathaniel Donnett

Opening Reception: 6 – 9 PM Friday, December 1, 2017
Exhibition Dates: December 1, 2017 – January 20, 2018
Main Gallery

The Homeplace Aesthetic, a lecture by Dr. Andrea Roberts

A Lecture by Dr. Andrea Roberts

Art League Houston is pleased to host ‘The Homeplace Aesthetic: Finding Black Pasts and Seeking Black Futures in Bottom Land’ a lecture by Dr. Andrea Roberts organized by Nathaniel Donnett in conjunction with the artist’s exhibition ‘In One Form or Another; Verse One’ currently on view at Art League Houston.

Within the American landscape, Black vernacular placemaking manifests as spatialized self-determination, intentional design, self-making, and protest. Presently, popular film and TV (i.e., Queen Sugar) express African Americans’ persistent desire to simultaneously return to self-determined, rural settlements while retaining a foothold in urban meccas pregnant with both danger and opportunity. Dr. Andrea Roberts’ research documents and assesses the relevance of rural exodus and return to Black Texas settlements called freedom colonies. Between Juneteenth and the beginning of the Great Depression, Black Texans founded more than 540 freedom colonies. Dr. Roberts partners with grassroots preservationists, descendants of freedom colony founders, who simultaneously call Houston and rural East Texas settlements their homes. Her ethnographic research documents baby boomers’ complex, gendered and raced preservation practices. Of specific concern to Dr. Roberts are descendant communities’ unique approaches to homestead preservation which she calls The Homeplace Aesthetic—the practice of preserving place, reproducing identity, and fostering belonging through commemoration, interior design, and land-based heritage. She concludes the presentation by discussing the implications of the Homeplace Aesthetic for freedom colonies in “bottom land” after Hurricane Harvey.



Everyday it’s been the same old mess on my block.
You either struggle or you had to protest on my block
Housing discriminatory practice
Homeless people need a loan just to afford a mattress, to sleep on.
On my block they raise ya tax rate up.
The medium income wealth of whites -100k up.
For Blacks, it’s only 1700- straight up.
For Latinos, it’s 2000, nothing I made up.
That’s not an anecdote, that’s racial wealth gap data.
Gentrifying 5th Ward, ‘cause of low social strata.
From the Harlem Renaissance to the Black Arts Movement represented
In black visual arts and black music, performance to literary stations,
Jacob Lawrence Great Migration to mass incarcerations.
On my block, you see aesthetics in vernacular
Architecture, Houston, Texas from West Africa.
On my block, the police will come test you.
4th Ward Camp Logan, Riots at TSU.
So with their protest signs, they formed a line,
3rd Ward marches on Almeda by design.
On my block, Black women strike with labor unions
For higher wages but not treated human.
On my block, systems sustain poverty
Form became protest then became policies.


My block – when everything is everything for sheezy
My block – protest has form, homie believe me
My block – made a lot from a little look easy, fa sheezy
My block – we’ll keep speaking out and speaking freely

Nathaniel Donnett
Verse One – Inspired by Houston based rapper Brad “Scarface” Jordan and the song “My Block”


Nathaniel Donnett lives and works in Houston, Texas and studied at Texas Southern University. Donnett is the founder of the website blog “Not That But This”. which was funded by a 2015 Idea Fund /Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, 2017 Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant, 2015 Houston Downtown Vehicular Wayfinding Signs Project public art commission. Donnett has also received the 2014 Harpo Foundation Grant, 2011 Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant, 2011 Idea Fund/Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, 2010 Artadia Award. He’s exhibited at The American Museum, Washington, DC, The Kemper Contemporary Arts Museum, Kansas City, MO, The Theresa Hotel, Harlem, NY, Harvey B Gantt Art Center for African American Arts and Culture, Charlotte, NC, The Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury CT, The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX, Texas Southern University Museum, Houston, TX, The New Museum, NY, NY, The National Museum in Lima, Peru and The Modern Museum of Peru.

Nathaniel Donnett is a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant Award. This grant is funded by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

This exhibition is generously sponsored in part by Linda Darke and Greg Shannon.

More about this exhibition at Art League Houston.

Click HERE to view available artwork by NATHANIEL DONNETT.

Contact Morton Fine Art for acquisition.

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

(202) 628-2787, mortonfineart@gmail.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com