Performance featuring Nic Brielle Aziz, 2017
French sculptor Auguste Rodin originally conceived The Poet, inspired by Dante, to sit atop The Gates of Hell. But when an enlarged version of the work was exhibited separately as The Thinker, it was transformed into a singular work of monumental humanity. Deriving inspiration from the original, contemporary curator and writer Nic Brielle Aziz is positioned high above the audience, forcing the onlookers into the position of admirer looking up at this literally elevated subject, while allowing Aziz as the subject of the gaze to actively engage with the expectations placed upon him by the spectacle. That this thinker is a young black intellectual further complicates the assumptions within contemporary society made about youth, gender, and ethnicity as it relates to aspirational thought and the potential for leadership.