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Announcement
September 2, 2022

The Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice: Artistic Activism and the Power of Collective Resistance

Vanderbilt University

Ebony G. Patterson, Staying Power, 2021. Installation view, Monument Lab, The Village of Arts and Humanities, Philadelphia, PA.

Selene Wendt.

 

María Magdalena Campos Pons.

Jeannette Ehlers.

The Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice (EADJ) is thrilled to announce the fall 2022 EADJ program "Artistic Activism and the Power of Collective Resistance" curated by Selene Wendt. The Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice, founded by Dr. María Magdalena Campos Pons is a trans-institutional partnership between Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, The Frist Art Museum and Millions of Conversations. Selene Wendt joins us from Oslo, Norway and is an art historian, independent curator, and writer based in Oslo. Her ongoing curatorial focus is on decoloniality and socially engaged art practices, with emphasis on interdisciplinary projects situated at the intersection between contemporary art, music, and literature.

Her book, Beyond the Door of No Return: Confronting Hidden Colonial Histories through Contemporary Art, which was recently co-published by The Africa Institute (Sharjah) and Skira (Milan), is now available worldwide. For more information about Selene Wendt, please view her bio here.

Artistic Activism and the Power of Collective Resistance
Curated by Selene Wendt, EADJ 2022 fall program. We are at a time in history when socially engaged art practices are more important than ever. In direct response to the countless social, economic, and racial injustices experienced by individuals throughout the world, an increasing number of contemporary artists are extending beyond their studio practice and leading the way in terms of increasing sociopolitical awareness and implementing societal change through art. Focusing on art as an act of solidarity and resistance, the 2022/23 Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice will bring together outstanding individuals from various creative disciplines whose work helps to reframe and rewrite the past, thereby enabling us to rethink how we can fight against the social injustices of our time and imagine a more socially just future for all. The 2022/23 Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice is conceived to foster inclusive, meaningful dialogues and collaborations that will have a societal impact that will resonate beyond academia and the art world. Taking a distinctly transdisciplinary, transcultural, transhistorical approach to decolonial thinking, the programming highlights socially and politically engaged art practices that confront the social and political challenges of our time head on.

Launched in spring 2022 with four panel discussions, the EADJ 22ï23 program is comprised of 16 academic panel discussions and socially engaged artist projects that are taking place across the city of Nashville. In collaboration with our partners at Fisk University, The Frist Art Museum, Millions of Conversations and Vanderbilt University, EADJ’s program is built for a wide audience, combining our local ecosystem with artists and scholars from 25 countries and featuring more than 30 artworks including installations, performances, film screenings, sonic works, poetry readings, creative workshops, and collaborative projects in cultural venues, historical sites, and public spaces throughout Nashville. To view episodes one through three, please visit our website here.

Episode four: The Future of Unity: Artists Leading the Way (online panel discussion)
September 7, 2022, 10am CST. Register here.
This panel focuses on three artist-led platforms in the Global South where local actions, initiatives and opportunities are prioritized. Each of these spaces reflects a clear artistic vision conveyed through dynamic interdisciplinary programming that also provides an opportunity for artists to engage in residencies, exhibitions, talks and other initiatives. Located in Trinidad (Alice Yard), Kenya (The Nest Collective), and Jamaica (NLS Kingston), these are thriving local spaces that are setting the standard for what is possible in terms of artist-led initiatives.

Moderated by Rashida Bumbray panelists include Christopher Cozier, Jim Chuchu, Deborah Anzinger, and Joseph "Doughjoe" Love III , community partner with EADJ in Nashville, Tennessee.

Episode five: Global Black Consciousness through Time and Across Geographies (online panel discussion)
September 21, 2022, 10am CST. Register here.
This panel, to be moderated by Salah M. Hassan, brings together contemporary African and African diasporic artists whose research and artistic practices are in keeping with the idea of global Black consciousness as a unifying concept of solidarity. As addressed in the award-winning special issue of NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art: Global Black Consciousness and throughout Salah M. Hassan’s extensive research and scholarship on the topic, this panel focuses on global Black consciousness, understood as “both a citing of diasporic flows and a grounded site of decolonizing movement”.

Panelists include Manthia Diawara, Joy Gregory, Adama Delphine Fuwundu and Ndidi Dike.

Episode six: Healing and Transcendence through Radical Decolonial Gestures (online panel discussion)
October 5, 2022, 10am CST. Register here.
This panel brings together four contemporary artists whose research and artistic practice puts them at the forefront of decolonial thinking. These artists effectively challenge the legacy of colonialism and the continued prevalence of colonial power structures. More specifically, their work helps to rewrite and reframe the past, thereby enabling us to rethink how we can fight against the social injustices of our time and imagine a more just future for all.

Moderated by EADJ 2022/2023 curator, Selene Wendt, panelists include Sasha Huber, Nyugen E. Smith, Cosmo Whyte and Grada Kilomba.

Episode seven: Poetic Justice (online panel discussion)
October 19, 2022, 10am CST
. Register here.
This panel highlights the work of several poets whose poems, spoken-word performances, collaborative initiatives, and community-based workshops convey the power of poetry to raise societal awareness and to foster community engagement. The inherent musicality of poetry as well as its potential sociopolitical function is reflected in poetic practices that also resonate on a societal level, as witnessed through artistic collaborations that speak the language of solidarity and empowerment.

Moderated by EADJ 2022/23 Curator Selene Wendt, panelists include Ishion Hutchinson and Aja Monet among others.

Follow us here for updated details about the 2023 panel discussions and artist interventions.

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