Dr. Donette Francis
2021 Art Circuits’ Critic’s Choice art writer

Donette Francis is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Miami, where she is a founding member of the Hemispheric Caribbean Studies Collective. She is the author of Fictions of Feminine Citizenship: Sexuality and the Nation in Contemporary Caribbean Literature.



Four years before her passing, Toni Morrison, our national sage and winner of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, offered prescient words about the role of artists in moment of historical crisis:"I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art." 1 From pandemic to politics, the United States is in a state of disarray.One ray of optimism can be found in the role art plays in helping us navigate our current crisis.This month’s selections showcase exhibitions that deal with the difficult subjects of race, reckoning, and repair. Art Circuits suggests some stops to make

1“No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear: In times of Dread, Artists Must Never Choose to Remain Silent.” The Nation, March 23, 2015.


Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum Miami

Transfiguration: A Black Speculative Vision of Freedom

On view through April 25, 2021

Curated by Julian C. Chambliss & Amy Galpin, Chief Curator
Continuing FIU’s thirty-year tradition of presenting annual exhibitions in honor of Martin Luther King Day, “Transfiguration: A Black Speculative Vision of Freedom” curates artworks that highlight Black freedom dreams.Exploring the robust world of Afrofuturism that foregrounds the liberatory role of speculative art, the exhibition features artists working across a range of medium.After Google’s recent termination of Timnit Gebru, a Black female artificial intelligence ethics researcher, for daring to speak out against the company’s diversity efforts, Nettrice Gaskins’ Who Fears, 2020 is not only skillfully rendered, but particularly timely. Along with Gaskins, featured artists include Krista Franklin, and collectives Black Kirby and Intergalactic Soul.

Wolfsonian- FIU

Art for Justice


FIU’s Wolfsonian campus on Miami Beach features Art for Justice, showing how linoleum-cut prints were rendered to place the 1930s “Scottsboro Boys case” within the longer arc of racial injustice and the struggle for civil rights in the US.This exhibition offers the rare opportunity to see this original manuscript of illustrative linoleum-cut prints.

Boca Museum of Art

The Signing, Renee Cox

On View until September 2021Renee Cox has a long history of reinterpreting classical paintings through a Black lens.Repurposing Howard Chandler Christy’s historical painting, Scene at The Signing of the Constitution of the United States, Cox reimagines a diverse array of Black folks in place of the Founding Fathers.With this speculative leap, Cox asks viewers to consider how might the very content of the Constitution be altered with more meaningful inclusion.

ICA Miami

Claudia Andujar

On View through May 2, 2021

The ICA features Claudia Andujar’s 1972-76 photography of the Yanomami people of Northern Brazil’s Amazonian rainforest. The focused gathering of Andujar’s work here showcases art in the service of advocacy for indigenous people and their land rights.

ICA Miami

Lyle Ashton Harris: Ektachrome Archive

On View through Nov. 21, 2021

The ICA also has on view Lyle Ashton Harris’ photographic archives of Black life, art and activism in the heady days of the 1980s and 1990s.

NSU Art Museum

New Art South Florida

On View Through Feb. 21, 2021Curated by Bonnie Clearwater


As our local art scene comes of age, South Florida art institutions are giving more institutional space to local artists. Curated by NSU Art Museum’s Director and Chief Curator, Bonnie Clearwater, this exhibition celebrates 13 Florida Cultural Consortium award-winning artists. The exhibition’s artists work in a wide range of mediums and include Nathalie Alfonso, Shane Eason, Andriana Mereuta, Itzel Basualdo, Franky Cruz, GeoVanna Gonzalez, Nicolas Lobo, Monica Lopez De Victoria, Kareem Tabsch, Antonia Wright, Ates Isildak, Michel Delgado, and Mark Hedden.


The Betsy Hotel South Beach

Hassan Hajjaj

Currently Exhibited in Lobby

Hassan Hajjaj offers an important twist on US-centered conversations about multiculturalism.Rather than worry over how to include the “othered” into the American mosaic, he stylizes how that mosaic is fundamentally transformed when the American other is placed in an African context.In this case, Hajjaj places the prominent Black American male artist, Hank Willis Thomas, into a Moroccan context with sartorial verve.


African American Research Library and Cultural Center 

Broward Cultural DivisionThe Porch is the Tree is the Watering Hole 

On view with timed reservations through May 29, 2021Curated by Dominique Denis

What are the spaces and practices that sustain Black communities?Centering Sistrunk, a historically Black neighborhood in Broward County, cross-disciplinary artists address this question from art, architecture, photography, and poetry.Artists and designers include Germane Barnes, Darius V. Daughtry, David I. Muir, Adler Guerrier, Olalekan Jeyifous, Adrienne Chadwik, Marlene Brunot, and George Gadson.