Strange fruits V, 52 x 98 in | 2022

Miami Museum of Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora Continues to Set the Stage for A New Era in Exploration of Contemporary Art from the Global African Diaspora

Miami Museum of Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora (Miami MoCAAD) remains at the forefront, pioneering a new chapter in the exploration of contemporary art from the diverse reaches of the Global African Diaspora. Following the success of Miami MoCAAD’s inaugural virtual reality art exhibition, “This Life:  Black Life in the Time of Now,” which premiered during Art Basel 2023, Miami MoCAAD will unveil new work of artist Marielle Plaisir entitled, “The Day I Heard the Sounds of the World” and present its second virtual reality art exhibition and accompanying documentary, at the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater on March 21, 2024, at 7pm.  

Black Business body

Plaisir’s work delves into the intricate tapestry of community connections through art. Flowing from narratives of Overtown and Coral Gables, this endeavor and documentary titled, “The Day I Heard the Sounds of the World: ARt Connecting Communities-Overtown and Coral Gables,” shed light on the divergent yet intersecting paths these communities traversed, particularly amidst the backdrop of the Jim Crow era in the urban South.

Miami MoCAAD was awarded a Knight New Work grant from the Knight Foundation to commission new art by Marielle Plaisir (French Caribbean) and incorporate augmented reality. With support from Miami-Dade County, Miami MoCAAD expanded the project to include the virtual reality art exhibition and documentary. The virtual reality art exhibition will include eight works from Plaisir’s exhibition, “Strange Fruits,” currently on exhibit at the Coral Gables Museum through April 28, 2024. After the Miami MoCAAD premiere, Plaisir’s new work will join her exhibition at the Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables.

The commissioned installation incorporates interactive technology and will be accompanied by a virtual art exhibit and documentary. A fireside chat with Marielle, and Miami MoCAAD co-founder Marilyn Holifield, moderated by Donnamarie Baptiste, Arts and Culture Leader will take place after the screening of the documentary. Attendees will also be provided with an augmented reality (AR) experience that will enable them to learn about Marielle while providing a view of her immersive artworks through a virtual reality portal. RSVP for free at

This project is made possible with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.   

Community screening of the premiere is made possible with the support provided by The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at The Miami Foundation.

“Miami MoCAAD aims to leverage technology to establish a platform that enhances the voices of the African Diaspora, fostering discourse and connections within and beyond communities.  Miami MoCAAD is excited about the path to build a hybrid museum that utilizes technology to ignite curiosity, enhance accessibility, and revolutionize both virtual and in-person museum experiences,” stated Miami MoCAAD cofounder Marilyn Holifield.

The Knight New Work program began in Miami in 2018. Open to individual artists, collectives, and art organizations, the open call celebrates artistic creation and collaboration through new modes of production, expression and communication using technology.

“Amid rapid digital transformation, artists and arts organizations are harnessing technology to expand horizons, foster connections and redefine boundaries,” said Jennifer Farah, Director/Arts for the Knight Foundation. “We are thrilled to support Miami MoCAAD in presenting Marielle’s new work, a first for the artist to incorporate digital representation, that bridges communities and leverages technology.”  

Marielle Plaisir, a multimedia artist deeply immersed in the exploration of domination and supremacy, transcends the boundaries of conventional artistry. Initially rooted in painting, her journey has evolved into a realm where activism intertwines seamlessly with her creative expression. She crafts immersive narratives that resonate with the complexities of her French-Caribbean heritage within the context of Postcolonialism. 

The interviews in the documentary of Marielle will center on the pieces from the show selected for the virtual museum and the digital production and follow up on contextualization of the linkages between Overtown and Coral Gables by local historian, Dr. Dorothy Fields, in light of the artist’s themes of the new work.

“The companion documentary is a tale of two diverse 20th century pioneer Miami communities: “Colored Town” (The Central Negro District) now Overtown and Coral Gables, “The City Beautiful.” It highlights the soul and parallel paths of each community mainly through stories and archival images of long-ago developers, laborers, and residents; and the majestic character of several remaining historic sites. Artist Marielle Plaisir dreams of a better world, a world without domination and supremacy. Through art she transforms ordinary real stories into captivating, ambitious and emotionally chartered masterpieces guided now by AR/VR and other emerging 21st century technologies.”

Dr. Dorothy Fields, Historian

Marielle Plaisir’s evocative art installations serve as conduits bridging past and present, employing cutting-edge technologies like AR/VR to infuse creativity into historical storytelling. Her work aims to inform, uplift, and provoke thought. 

“I place love and gentleness at the heart of my practice. It’s a bit old-fashioned to talk about love, but it’s what holds humanity together. It’s this fragility. Without love, we do not build anything together; we don’t recognize the other as our equal. Love is the ultimate desire, the ultimate aspiration of humanity. 

Marille Plaisair

The Miami MoCAAD team chose Xennial Digital, a VR/AR tech startup based in Miami, as its digital partner to develop an unparalleled VR experience. Established in 2018, Xennial specializes in crafting VR/AR platforms, content, products and solutions tailored for enterprise and academic institutions. Through Augmented and Virtual Reality experiences – thanks to the work of Miami tech company Xennial – participants can now experience the new works of Marielle Plaisir in new ways.

“The beauty of the Miami MoCAAD VR Museum project, is that it continues to demonstrate how we can use immersive technologies to eliminate the boundaries of how far artists can reach their audiences. Through Virtual Reality, now anyone across the globe can experience Marielle’s artwork. It also enables great artists like Marielle to start looking at new ways to transition from creating 2D master pieces, into fully interactive 3D artwork experiences that immerse their public into their creativity.”

Douglas Fajardo, Founder | CEO, Xennial

The documentary is produced by 5x Regional Emmy Award winner Michael Anderson, founder, Diaspora Pass Story Forward, Inc.

“As the Director and Producer of this upcoming documentary film “The Day I Heard the Sounds of the World “featuring the talented artist Marielle Plaisir and the esteemed Miami historian Dr. Dorothy Fields, I must say that this project has been an absolute pleasure to work on. We have embarked on a journey of connecting art, history, and culture, and our goal is to bring this unique experience to our audience in a creative and innovative way through Virtual Reality. We believe that by immersing viewers in the world of black culture and art, we can create a powerful and transformative narrative that transcends traditional documentary storytelling. Get ready to step into a new dimension where the past meets the present and where the beauty and significance of black art and culture come to life like never before.”

Michael Anderson

About Miami MoCAAD

Miami MoCAAD is a tech-forward startup museum with a mission to discover, commission, collect and preserve the work of the most advanced contemporary artists of the Global African Diaspora and its mother continent Africa. As a museum of the future, MoCAAD will embed technology in exhibitions, programs, and practices, going beyond digital art offerings to explore ways technology can elevate experiences, educate and reach audiences around the world.

Miami MoCAAD is digital-first. Flexible, nimble and distributed, it is both deeply rooted in the local Miami context and global in its reach. It meets its audiences where they are, appearing in diverse digital spaces and creative venues, curating exhibitions and experiences that connect local and international audiences with the work of experienced and emerging contemporary artists of the African Diaspora and Africa.  It will serve as a bridge between a constellation of different and diverse voices and art venues of Africa and the African Diaspora around the world from the Americas and Caribbean to Africa, and Europe.  For more information, please visit:

About Knight Foundation

We are social investors who support a more effective democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers. Learn more at 


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