Solange Knowles expands Saint Heron into a multidisciplinary platform, creative agency and more
After founding in 2013 as a call to community, Knowles is now expanding Saint Heron into a multifaceted platform to uplift creative voices, as well as create and preserve archives.
- Lucy Bourton
- 25 May 2021
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Saint Heron, founded by Solange Knowles, today announces the next phase of its evolution as an expansive multidisciplinary platform, studio and creative agency.
Founded in 2013 as an online community celebrating music, art and cultural conversations, this new phase will see Knowles’ vision expand as a cultural institution. Growing with “an urgent mission to preserve, collect and uplift the stories, work and archives that amplify vital voices within our communities,” Saint Heron will first build spaces to engage “radical conversation and conceptual imagining”.
Across disciplines – from art to design, architecture, fashion and literature – online, Saint Heron will launch a series of dossiers, acting as “literary and visual retrospectives of radical family and artist lineages,” explains Saint Heron. These will live on the platform’s website for seven to ten days, allowing for in-depth exploration of emerging talent. A digital installation of sorts, the first dossier (now live) shares the story of Saint Heron as told by Knowles, who holds the title of founder, creative director and art director.
Released periodically, these dossiers will continue to showcase literary exhibitions, telling inspirational stories of “familial lineage, returning home, physical exodus and personal reclamation,” says Saint Heron. For example, in the coming days, the platform will be exploring the career of American visual artist, sculptor, bestselling novelist and award-winning poet Barbara Chase-Riboud, in conversation with author and educator Ilyasah Shabazz. Upcoming pieces also involve interviews with Shala Monroque and artist Cassi Namoda, another conversation with Helga Davis and Okwui Okpokwasili, as well as archives from the Womack and Womack family, shared by their three daughters.
Not only showcasing “the institution’s mission to reinforce the urgency of building archives” via these dossiers online, Saint Heron will also be sharing further details of gallery exhibitions, installations, an artist in residence programme, a permanent collection and a non-profit library. The growing team will also continue to build out its gallery, Small Matter, with a focus on “futurism design as a form of cultural expression”, with many upcoming works to be designed by Knowles herself and further collaborators.
Later this year this will include launching an inaugural ceramic studio programme “to expand and preserve community connection to the African-originating practice of making, moulding and forming vessels from mud and clay”. Finally, a further focus of Saint Heron will be its continued activism work via the Saint Heron Holism Project, an initiative to bring “holistic, therapeutic healing and support to women, girls and communities of colour”.
On the growth of the platform and further plans for Saint Heron, Knowles says: “Worldmaking has always been such a core part of my practice. The idea of leaving behind cities, meccas, and universes to be discovered down the line. As Saint Heron evolves, I am excited to further explore architectural and functional sculptural objects that go on to expand these conversations through scale, light, material, shape, and movement.” Furthering the artist’s creativity through this widening development she continues: “Saint Heron seeks to preserve collections of creators with the urgency they deserve. Together we want to create an archive of our communities’ artists, stories, and works. Our ambition is to open up these works publicly, and make them accessible to students, our communities for research and engagement, so there is a space where the works belong and grow with us.”
Looking to the future, Saint Heron has also welcomed industrial designer and founder of VIDIVIXI, Mark Grattan, as the platform’s product development consultant. The designer will work closely with the relaunch of Saint Heron’s gallery Small Matter on which Grattan adds: “I am honoured to be working with the Saint Heron team and look forward to utilising my experience in furniture production to support Solange as she brings her beautiful designs to life. I have so much respect for her creativity and am inspired by her devotion to craft.” Further, on Small Matter specifically, Knowles says: “I feel so grateful to have Mark Grattan join and uplift the Saint Heron team and our projects. For Saint Heron, these projects are building as bricks for the foundation of tomorrow’s imagined heights.”
GalleryCopyright © Saint Heron, 2021
Copyright © Saint Heron, 2021
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.