Prospect.5: Yesterday We Said Tomorrow, the fifth iteration of the Prospect New Orleans international contemporary art triennial, was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 crisis. Now scheduled to open on October 23, 2021, Yesterday We Said Tomorrow will take place at museums, cultural spaces, and public sites across New Orleans and present the work of fifty-one artists, including alumna Adriana Corral (MFA in Studio Art, 2013).
Corral is part of a new curatorial section of the triennial, titled “Monuments: A Proposal,” after a project by sculptor Simone Leigh. The section features seven artists, including Leigh, who have been commissioned to make new works on the subject of monumentality.
“When we stepped back and looked at the big picture of these proposals, [we realized that] they are all kind of new, very contemporary conceptions of monuments or memorials,” said the director of Yesterday We Said Tomorrow, Nick Stillman within an Artnews report. “That’s when it became clear that there was a theme emerging and happening completely organically.”
Other artists working on commissions for the project are EJ Hill, Glenn Ligon, Dave McKenzie, Anastasia Pelias and Nari Ward. The commissions were made possible thanks to a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation as part of the foundation’s Monuments Project, a $250 million grantmaking initiative launched in 2020.
“Monuments, memorials, and other commemorative spaces convey both individual narratives and national values,” said Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander. “This effort will further ensure that the many communities that have shaped the United States have greater opportunity to see themselves in the fabric of our remarkable American story.”
In her work, Corral uses data and historical records to inform her practice and encourage meaningful dialogue. She transforms dates and archival resources provided by historians, activists, scholars, and journalists into examinations of injustice through such themes as memory, loss, and human rights. Her works lay bare inequities and stories of repression, and she asks viewers to choose to remember and to question why some things are collectively forgotten or intentionally erased.
In a recent Q&A with the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Corral responded to a question about her dream projects as an artist by remarking, “I dream of creating a research center that would facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration and connect individuals—community members, physicians, public health officials, architects, and historians (to name a few)—with artists. The center would formalize the kind of collaborative research environment that I began to create for myself while I was in graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin. I am currently building a similar network of collaborators here in Houston to address my new body of work focused on delousing practices used on immigrants in the early part of the 20th century.”