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ME WE – a poem by Mohammed Ali

Collective innovation (WE) thrives on and enhances fierce individuality (ME).

This visually engaging depiction of Mohammed Ali’s poem illustrates that there is a ME in WE and a WE in ME; from different angles each contains the other. Comprised of many other elements, The Freedom Principle exhibit (where this installation resides) documents and celebrates the dynamic of individual and collective expression becoming mutually enhancing in African American art and music.

When the individual and the collective feed each other, individuals express themselves fully – even fiercely – and in this fullness of expression accept and celebrate being a piece of the whole. This acceptance of being a piece – as opposed to the whole – feeds collective creativity and collective art forms. At the same time, the collective’s insistence on full individual expression nourishes individuality. Thereby, the two become mutually enhancing rather than mutually exclusive.

Note: The Freedom Principle is an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago linking the vibrant legacy of the 1960s African American avant-garde to current art and culture. More information available here.

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