Zeelie Brown’s first art museum was the pine woods in Alabama. She makes Black, queer refuges called "soulscapes", borne from this sense of wilderness. Soulscapes are a gumbo melding sound, cello performance, installation, electronic, culinary, textile, process and performance art. These media, these soul-foods simmer together with the Alabama folk arts they learned as a child on their rural homestead to, somewhere deep within the viewer, lay a road down home.
Soulscapes are refuge: refuge from centuries of state ordained theft and genocide sculpting, financing, and informing the very concept of art; refuge expressly for Black, queer people; refuge from hatred and ignorance that threatens to drown the land her ancestors are buried on; refuge from those whose wallets grow fat from selling black communities downriver; refuge.
Soulscapes live in-between the river and the sea, in rage, in salvation, in domesticity, in the blues, in creoles, in sweet lies told with a smile and crooked teeth, in gris-gris and mojo hands. Soulscapes live at dangerous, shifting crossroads because when you are born Black in America you are born nailed to the cross.
She is currently working with the MIT Department of Architecture, NOMAS, and Group Project to create sustainable human waste solutions in her native rural Alabama. She will hold her first solo show in 2022 at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. She is an inaugural Forge Arts Fellow. She was a 2018 Create Change Fellow with the Laundromat Project; has been shortlisted for a Fulbright; was a 2019-2020 Coalesce Fellow with the University of Buffalo; a curated show at Flux Factory and held numerous fellowships there; performed/collaborated at Elsewhere Museum, MoMA, Powerhouse Arts, Gavin Brown, The Shed, Recess, Pioneer Works, Swale, and Governor's Island.