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Conduct Your Blooming

A work made of seven banners: polyester, sequin-dot fabric, felt, cotton, and thread.

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  • A work made of seven banners: polyester, sequin-dot fabric, felt, cotton, and thread.




Cauleen Smith
American, born 1967

About this artwork

Cauleen Smith has developed a lyrical visual practice across diverse media. She often proposes speculative narratives in her work, imagining new ways to embody and approach black identity that foster agency rather than oppression.

Smith produced her first group of hand-sewn banners in the summer of 2015. She populated them with the famous closing line from a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, “Conduct your blooming / in noise and the whip / of the whirlwind.” Smith and her friends and artist-peers mobilized them during the collectively organized Black Love Procession through Chicago’s Bronzeville in an effort to foster love and positivity. The words and symbols Smith features on her banners bear witness to issues of prejudice, racism, and people’s inability to understand one another.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Cauleen Smith


Conduct Your Blooming

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 2016


Seven banners: polyester, sequin-dot fabric, felt, cotton, and thread


55 × 150 in.; 42 × 38 in.; 29 × 56 in.; 42 × 37 in.; 29 × 56 in.; 42 × 36 in.; 55 × 109 in.

Credit Line

Ann M. Vielehr Prize Fund, The Neil G. Bluhm Contemporary Art Matching Fund Initiative, Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Endowment, Laura Slobe Memorial Prize, and Jacob and Bessie Levy Art Encouragement funds

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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