Chateau Ciroc was a major high point in Art Basel’s lineup this past week in Miami. Ciroc event curator Antoine J. Girard discussed his inspiration for “Chateau Ciroc” & SHEEN chatted with  Chateau Ciroc featured artist “Murjoni” about her experience & inspiration behind her work.

Murjoni Merriweather is an amazing artist, sculpter, and claywork professional who created a name in artistry for her realistic, and authentic brown sculptures that celebrates instead of criticizing the unique characteristics and features of African Americans. Murjoni creates sculpted beings that are based around real people and real experiences.

With this, she enjoys going against the European standards of “beauty” that are placed upon people of color. (light skin, petite figure,etc.), and normalizing what is natural about black bodies; loving and accepting them as they come.

Through the artwork, connections and reflections with herself and others based on shared experiences. Continuing her craft, she plans to continue eliminating stereotypes and prejudices while uplifting the black community.

What is Chateau CÎROC, and how did the idea come about?

Chateau CÎROC is an experiential platform to celebrate and empower Black Excellence. The team at CIROC unveiled it during one of the biggest weeks in art in Miami to not only give a platform to artists and their ongoing work but to provide them a home where diverse voices are seen, heard, felt, and most importantly, celebrated.

How long will Chateau CÎROC be available to experience?

Visitors in Miami were able to get a first look at Chateau CÎROC on December 2nd and 3rd but since it’s a platform, I’m excited to see where it will pop up next. Be sure to follow @CIROC to be updated on when and where you can experience it.  

Who are some of the featured artists/works (music, paint, illustration, etc.) we will see during the Chateau CÎROC?

The artist spans from artists from both the black experience from the United States and Canada. You can expect to see artists who truly exemplify black self-expression: painting, sculpture, and mixed media all help these artists to best navigate new directions.

How do you think the type of experience that Chateau CÎROC affords to Art Basel will change the atmosphere of the event as a whole? 

I like to build artist collectives that further the idea of community. All eleven artists selected represent ideas present in the community that reflect hope around familiarity and togetherness.

What does an event like this mean to and for the culture?

It brings us together. Creates joy! And joy is ultimately the center of how change is made.

Have you ever been featured in an Art Basel showcase before? How does that differ from this show? 

Personally, I’ve never been! I’m excited to be a part of this showing and others I’m proud to say I’m producing with artists presented in this showcase.

At what time frame in your life did you realize that art could be your career journey?

Art has always been my calling! It helped me find myself as a young man but has also not been an easy call to answer. I’m proud of the hard work and professional progress made.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I like to see young people inspired by images that keep them inspired. That lightbulb going off over their heads makes me believe the work is always worth it.

Art Basel is an amazing collaboration of art and music. Who’s your favorite music artist to listen to and get inspired to create?

I’m from the South. I love the music that comes from there. The attitude and bass that amplify its message.

All images by MGOT Miami