Black Domain
Through Sept 24th 2022 at the Architectural Heritage Center in Portland OR

“Black Domain presents photographs by Portland-based artist Intisar Abioto of the lived history of Black place. Through portraits of Black Portlanders and Oregonians in their homes, at work, in creativity, and at worship, the exhibit captures places of architectural, cultural, and historical relevance to the Black community."

Hours: Thursday–Saturday, 10am–5pm.
Admission is free for AHC members and $8 for the general public. [Please reach out if you need access - Intisar]
The AHC is accessible.


This exhibition means a lot to me. And I am thankful to each and every person who played and is playing a role, a part in its coming to be. This feeling comes out of the search for home and landedness, rest for spirit, for body, for family, for friendship in this landscape .. and well, everywhere. I wanted a space where we could gather in the feeling.. consider it, hold it in our hands, and ideate and dream toward its furtherance. I have heard about and lived so much housing insecurity in this city. There is so much challenge to Black residence, home, rootedness, rest, privacy... expression of an incontrovertible right of our authority and existence in space/life, shared and known between us.

That Portland/Oregon/American/global story of [displacements, exclusions, gentrifications, denials] of African diasporic people can seem to take over the reality of our abiding right to home and placeness on this earth. It also can seem to take over what we know to be the cultures of Black home and Black domain - as expansiveness of spirit moving in, into, and throughout place - that we know to be our truths. Black home..IS. So I wanted to image the presence and feeling of Black home, Black domain, as I felt it, have known it, and have seen it in our lives. I spent time with people in our community in their homes, in their places of rest and restoration, in the places that felt and reverberate home to them. Many of those people were Black elders, because that is also what Black home feels like to me and it felt like a good beginning place.

This exhibition is an exhibition, but it is not one. It is still changing and will throughout the course of it. More images and portraits will be added. I hope that Black Portlanders, Oregonians, and people of our diaspora will come and feel like it is their/our exhibition/gathering as well. I hope for your presence, your feedback, your thoughts, your edits. Black home is expansive and it feels silly to imagine this exhibition will capture all of it or stand in utter perfection. Home takes time. But the feeling of it, that we know, I hope you might feel here. 

The salon space in the exhibition is specifically for the purpose of contributions by community. This salon space is a space for stories and tellings .. photographs and documents .. hopefully some cackling and carrying on as we are wont to do.. some truth telling that makes ways .. no matter who does or doesn't want to hear it. We know our ways. Please reach out if you feel called or compelled.

This working also moves in respect to mutual contributions to the considerations of the many Indigenous communities in and of these lands.. the Multnomah, Oregon City Tumwater, Walata, Wasco, Kathlamet, Cowlitz, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other Indigenous peoples. More than just statement or acknowledgment, I hope for active moving questionings towards their sovereign rights, sense of home, and movements towards land back and land return to the land itself and these original and continuing stewards of these places.

Though these are still images, I hope that this exhibition/imagerial gathering of our presence/s can be considered about movements .. us moving through here together. There’s no fixed or still statement here. 

Special thanks to my mom Midnite Abioto (my original progenitor of Black home) for support with exhibition design. Thanks to Danielle McCoy and Jordan Jackson of Amen Amen Studio for their deeply supportive and integrative graphic design work. Deep thanks to Stephanie Whitlock, executive director of the Architectural Heritage Center who first reached out to me, inviting me to create work for exhibition at AHC, and who stewarded this exhibition and production process with grace, acumen, and deep care from the very beginning. Thank you, everyone at AHC. Deep thanks, respect, and admiration to each person and family in this exhibition.

Thank you to the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, The Van Evera and Janet M. Bailey Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, The Kinsman Foundation, Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, the Oregon Arts Commission, and the Cathy Galbraith Educational Endowment

With us in it,
this Black domain.
Please share with your folks and peoples.


Using Format