Scott Barton: Juba/Sanctuary

August 14, 2019

According to Scott Barton, juba is “a performativity and a dialectic.” He notes that in 1688, Randle Holme used “juba” in this sense: “Rice…beareth a seed in a sparsed juba, or tuft.” He also refers to juba’s kinesthetic life, as “an ecstatic syncopated West African jig marked by hand, knee and thigh slapping with stomping of feet on the floor.” From Juba or “to juber” comes jubilee: a release. A season of rejoicing and celebration. Barton situates his work in the community of those—from Sierra Leone, to Charleston, to Milwaukee—"who celebrate rice culture, Africana indigenous knowledge, and skill at the hearth.”

With Juba—Sanctuary, Scott Barton contemplates “the freedom mythos writ into the construction of this nation; yet not for all. Women, as caregivers, mothers, cooks, and maids are often not at liberty, although ostensibly free.”


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