Maryland Institute College of Art Presents Migrations and Meaning(s) in Art

By Editorial Team on January 27, 2020

Thu, 30 January 2020 - Sun, 15 March 2020

Ana Teresa Fernandez, Eraing the Border (Borrando la Frontera), video still, 3 minutes 38 seconds, 2012. Courtesy of the Artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco.
Reception: Thursday, January 30 from 5pm to 7pm

The reception kicks off the exhibition curated by scholar and artist Deborah Willis, PhD, the inaugural Stuart B. Cooper Endowed Chair in Photography, which begins Jan. 30 and runs through March 15.

In addition to the exhibition and reception, Willis will host an exhibition panel from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, March 9 in the Lazarus Center Auditorium, 131 W. North Ave., Baltimore.

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is pleased to present Migrations and Meaning(s) in Art, an exhibition curated by scholar and artist Deborah Willis, PhD, the inaugural Stuart B. Cooper Endowed Chair in Photography. Featuring a diverse range of local, national and international visual artists, the exhibition explores debates on the topic of migration from historical references such as slavery and emancipation; the Great Migration; and virtual communities from the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Willis selected artwork that considers “how identities are realized, rejected, performed and desired,” as well as the urgency of our present moment, following Nina Simone’s famous statement that artists’ duty is to reflect the times. The exhibition will include photographs, prints, video, animation and sculpture.

“This exhibition foregrounds varied experiences on migration from concepts of dislocation, border crossings and storytelling,” Willis said. “The artwork embraces and challenges various narratives on identity through migration practices and looks at the impact and reception both empowering and subjective often explored through gentrification, longing and trauma — as well as drawing attention to race, class, gender and religion.”

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Artists and collectives included in the exhibition are: Leslie King-Hammond, Albert Chong, Renée Cox, Carrie Mae Weems, Danny Wilcox Frasier, Tsedaye Makonnen, Nate Larson, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Hank Willis Thomas.

The full list of participants includes: Sama Alshaibi, Zalika Azim, Taylor Renee Bissey, Terry Boddie, Layo Bright, Albert Chong, Michèle Pearson Clarke, Renee Cox, Jennifer Datchuk, Sonia Louise Davis, Regina DeLuise, Nekisha Durrett, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Ivan Forde, Danny Wilcox Frazier, Daniel Castro Garcia, Lonnie Graham, Leslie King Hammond, Abbigail Hong, Jessica Ingram, Sarah Khan, Nate Larson, Nashormeh Lindo, Tsedaye Makonnen, Qiana Mestrich, Deyane Moses, Susan Harbage Page, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Hank Willis Thomas, HồngÂn Trương, Colette Veasey-Cullors, Carrie Mae Weems, Vicky Zambrano and ForFreedoms.

In 2014, alumnus Stuart B. Cooper ‘72 (Photography BFA) and Rebecca L. Besson established the Stuart B. Cooper Endowed Chair in Photography. This endowed fund will annually bring an acclaimed artist and scholar to engage with the undergraduate Photography Department to inspire the next generation of artists and thinkers in the photographic medium.

The Endowed Chair, which is a unique position, is a critic-in-residence for the undergraduate Photography Department, and will include eight visits over the course of the academic year. The individual in this position will share their practice as an artist, curator and critic with the students, and will engage with students in critical discussions about their emerging practices. The Endowed Chair will provide important feedback and nurture growth in the students through group discussions, individual and group critiques, and topical lectures related to her own scholarship.

Willis is a university professor and chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural, Africana Studies, where she teaches courses on photography and imaging, iconicity and cultural histories visualizing the black body, women and gender.

She is also the director of the NYU Institute for African American Affairs and the Center for Black Visual Culture. Her research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, the photographic history of slavery and emancipation, contemporary women photographers and beauty.

Willis received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and was a Richard D. Cohen Fellow in African and African American Art, Hutchins Center, Harvard University; a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow; and Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. Fellow. She has pursued a dual professional career as an art photographer and as one of the nation’s leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture. Willis has also authored numerous photography books on African American culture.

Meyerhoff Gallery in the Fox Building is located at 1303 W. Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore, MD.