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Native Doctor





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presented by

The Schomburg Center

Teen Curators 

Nonlinear Pendulums: Voyage through Infinite Blackness is a cosmic offering organized by the Schomburg Center’s Teen Curators, a Black art history and curatorial program for high school students. This year, our Teen Curators produced a digital exhibition which drew inspiration from the cultural aesthetics of both AfroFuturism and AfroSurrealism. While codified in the last thirty years, the impulses of both have always existed in the Black collective unconscious and it is our belief that where one ends, the other begins. Throughout myriad African societies, individuals have embodied voices of the past, present and future. When the children of Africa were kidnapped and transported to the Americas these embedded archetypes followed. 

The parallel pathways of both cultural aesthetics can be seen from the barkcloth of the Mbuti Pygmies of the Congo to the literary works of Amiri Baraka, Toni Morrison, Henry Dumas, the cosmic expression of Sun Ra to the present day surrealism of  Black life. The Teen Curators apply these aesthetics as a liberatory framework to reflect on the past, decipher the present and project a future rooted in Black liberation. Crafted with the Schomburg Center's Research Divisions as our foundation during these perilous times, Nonlinear Pendulums is deeply shaped by the reality of  being a teen in the epicenter of a global pandemic and massive social unrest. There were moments of deep grief in our curatorial practice as we observed what seemed like an all-out assault on Black bodies. But this very special cohort of Teen Curators, so clever, curious and hopeful, was able to bring great vision to this work, forged in the fire of a unique historical moment.



2020 Schomburg Teen Curators 

Alexus Younge  |  Aminah Cadesca | Avree Downing | Camren Johnson | Cerena Parkinson | Chanell Cuevas | Chyanne Ifill

 Demari Watkins | Ja’Mya Lowe | Katie Tejeda | Khalid Khalfani  | Maya Elizabeth Jasmine Scriven  |  Mordecai Kodua   

Maria "Levka" Starkova | Nia Clarke | Ottavia Morfino | Pablo Blanco | Rosa Galvez | Shelby Grant | Trécii P. Cheeseboro  

Xavier Paulino | Zarina Lewin | Zora Michelle Danticat 



Education Coordinator: Zenzele Z. Johnson

Instructor/Artist: M. Scott Johnson 

Exhibitions Coordinator/ Designer: Shante´ Cozier

Collaborators & Design Support: Shani Peters, Joseph Cullier and Brianna Lue, The Black School


Schomburg Center Director: Kevin Young

Chief of Staff: Kevin Matthews

Associate Director of Education: Brian Jones

Associate Director of Public Programs and Exhibitions: Novella Ford

Former Director of Collections and Information Services: Mary Yearwood

Art and Artifacts Division: Tammi Lawson, Bridgett Pride

Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division: Cheryl Beredo, Barrye Brown and Lauren Starks 

Photographs and Prints Division: Michael Mery, Antony Toussaint 

Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division: Maira Liriano, Rhonda Evans, A.J. Muhammad

Moving Image, Recorded Sound Division: Shola Lynch  & Andrea Battleground
Associate Director and Curator of the Lapidus Center: Michelle D. Commander, Ph.D.

Communications Manager: Lisa Herndon 

NYPL Copyright and Permissions: Kiowa Hammonds

Schomburg Facilities & Security: Queennasira Sekou, Courtney Addison 

Schomburg Society and Volunteer Services: Ruchelle Perry and Carey Byrd

Schomburg Shop: Rio Cortez and Virginia Mixon

Park Boulevard Productions: Kris Bergbom and Brandon Sears


The Schomburg Teen Curators Program is generously funded by The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation.


Special Thanks

Deirde Hollman, Former Education Director and Founder of The Teen Curators Program

The Schomburg Society

Lower Manhattan Community Arts Council 

Ladi’ Sasha Jones, Writer & Curator 

Chef Elle Simone, America’s Test Kitchen 

Chaedria La Bouvier, Curator of Basquiat’s Defacement 

The New York African Burial Ground Site

Cornell University Hip Hop Collection

Chris Calhoun Agency, Estate of Amiri Baraka

Eugene Redmond, Henry Lee Dumas Estate

Amy Gironda, Central Park East High School

David Fanning, & Ms. Foster Ba,  A. Philip Randolph Campus High School

Joel Lowy, New York City Museum School

Carey Ma, Frederick Douglass Academy

Michael Farmer, New Heights Academy Charter School

United Nations International School

Bob Gore

Khalilah Bates

Megan R. Williams


The Teen Curators Program is dedicating this project to friends, family, and loved ones who have touched our hearts and changed our lives.

Jean "Nanny" Scarlata*

Uraline "Mama" Younge

Ambrose "Papa" Younge

*no longer with us


The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

515 Lenox Avenue

New York, NY 10037

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