The monster, the physical manifestation of the threat to order and rightness, has long been used to represent the unknown, the dangerous. While many of the issues in And I Must Scream arise from the most despicable systems made by humans, the reality is that this exhibition is meant to reveal the most wonderful aspect of human nature: connectedness. It is not meant to be an exhibition of despair, but of hope—the sentiment that often accompanies the darkest moments. “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” is ultimately the story of the bravest act of human compassion—to sacrifice oneself so that others can be free. In that same vein, this exhibition uses art—a uniquely human form of expression—to confront the injustices and horrors that seemingly exist beyond our own control.
I must first and foremost extend my gratitude to Rachel P. Kreiter, who is a contributor to this catalogue and served as the copy editor for the project, but more importantly helped me transform my circuitous connections into thoughtful narratives that explore complex—almost unknowable—issues. Ruth Allen pushed me to be more open, to make more connections, to look deeper, and to speak louder about the things that matter, particularly in the flawed but beautiful and critical space of the museum. She also read and reread and read again entries, essays, and wall text, and for that I am grateful. To that end, I would also like to thank my other curatorial colleagues Andi McKenzie and Megan O’Neil, who served as sounding boards, read passages, and supported me over the years of uncertainty.
Annie Maloney, Margaret Nagawa, and Ellen Archie, amazing doctoral students at Emory University, plunged into the world of digital publications and built this catalogue. Support from the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship, particularly that of Yang Li and Allen Tullos, was invaluable as we experimented with a new platform. Alice Zheng was instrumental in the early stages of this exhibition and her work is visible throughout the pages of the catalogue and on the walls of the gallery. I would also like to recognize Georgia Adcock, who introduced me to Harlan Ellison’s work, which gave a critical framework to the aspects of our humanity—both the cruel and the compassionate—that I needed. Saira Raza and Melanie Kowalski have been critical resources for me at Emory and have always ensured that every ridiculous question and far-fetched idea is supported with accountability and responsible scholarship.
Delinda Collier has been with me from the beginning of this project and helped shape it in profound ways. I also want to extend my gratitude to Renée Stein and Ann Frellsen, who contributed to this catalogue, but also do the challenging work of cleaning up the damage left in the Monster’s wake. Ganzeer brought an incredible dynamism to the catalogue and the exhibition.
This exhibition could not have happened without the work of the amazing artists and the teams that support them: Anida Yoeu Ali, Leïla Adjovi, Loïc Hoquet, Steve Bandoma, Amie Esslinger, Ganzeer, Nicholas Kahn, Richard Selesnick, Yinka Shonibare, Thameur Mejri, Cannupa Hanska Luger, and Fabrice Monteiro. Gratitude for the work of Amanda Ariawan and Wei-Ling Gallery, Hugo Brami and Magnin-A, Coco Conroy and Jackson Fine Arts, Jane Cohan and Cohan Gallery, and Ginger Dunnill. Just like every curator, my exhibitions are only as good as my team, and I have a great one: Todd Lamkin, Stacey Gannon-Wright, Annie Shanley, Brittany Dinneen, Kaitlyn Wright, Joe Gargasz, Dave Armistead, Bruce Raper, Elizabeth Hornor, Katie Ericson, Lynnette Torres Ivey, Ana Vizurraga, Alyson Vuley, Jennifer Kirker, Jennifer Long, Elizabeth Riccardi, Cassidy Steele, Bernard Potts, Nick Miles, April Wilmer, Michelle Knox, Safiya Dixon, Shanta Murphy, Catherine Howett Smith, Bonnie Speed, Bonna Wescoat, Pellom McDaniels, Sarah Jones, Jim Warren, Lisa Holmes, Tracy Strickland, Brent Tozzer, and Mark Burrell.
Perhaps most importantly, I want to thank Angus Galloway, who was the only adult I saw for much of 2020 and 2021, the most formative part of the three years I have been working on this exhibition. Angus listened to my ramblings and helped me tame the beast, but he also reminded me to put it away and enjoy the beauty around me, too. And to my boys Lachlan, Calder, and Fergus, who have stopped asking me if there is a monster under the bed or in the closet and who inspire me to be hopeful, to practice compassion, and how fun it is to scream a little.
Amanda H. Hellman
Curator of African Art
February 1, 2022