Hold These Truths

November 13, 2017 - March 14, 2018

NLE Lab: Southeast Queens Biennial

February 9 - April 21, 2018

Shani Peters


The Crown, 2014
Video installation, construction paper, paint, and red carpet. Dimensions variable.

Peters’ creative process is influenced by her idea of self-determination which, as she describes it, is either a willful guide for one’s life or a far-removed, completely abstract notion, particularly for people who have been historically oppressed.” One of these ideas is a video/installation set to the tune of Gary Byrd and Stevie Wonder’s 1983 celebratory song: “The Crown”. The song celebrates the legacies of the African Diaspora and invites anyone listening to engage in a feeling of personal and collective empowerment: “you wear the crown, I wear the crown... so proud to say... the WE ALL wear the crown! Get down!!” Childhood memories of hearing this song are as vivid as her family’s annual Kwanzaa celebrations, a sonic companion to the theory of self-determination.

The Crown consists of two parts: a newly created video work which amalgamates the sound track and images of crowns from diverse cultures, with an emphasis on African crowns, and a densely packed installation of floating golden crowns suspended over a red carpet which leads into the installation. Through this installation, everyone who visits the exhibition is symbolically crowned and empowered. 

Photo credit: Whitney Browne