Eliot School Salons: Identity in Art - Representation & Belonging
May 4, 7:00PM
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Our impressions and understanding of a people are heavily-influenced by how they are depicted in imagery. World-class museum-walls are heavily populated by artist-interpretations of cultures they’ve identified as “other.” Slowly, more works by artists representing and reclaiming their own culture are gaining recognition. In conversation with artists who create work that intentionally references a culture, we seek to investigate: Who gets to determine how cultures are represented in art? How does membership, or non-membership, in a culture impact how we depict it? Who determines how those images are distributed and displayed?
Boston-based artists Stephen Hamilton, Ayana Mack, and Cagen Luse will join moderator Dara Cheek for a discussion about how they represent cultural identity in their work, as well as the experience of exhibiting work that explores this concept. The artists will discuss why they choose to represent a cultural or racial identity in their work and in the method they do, how their own identities inform their work, and the public’s reception.
Stephen Hamilton is a mixed media artist, researcher, and arts educator currently pursuing his PhD in African and African American Studies at Harvard University. His work explores and heavily references the Black body in pre-colonial African art history, through
traditional African textile-making methods, as well as figurative painting.
Ayana Mack is a designer, illustrator, and painter who roots her work in personal experiences, Black culture, and self-love. Her portraiture explores the beauty of the black figure, represented in vibrant color and texture.
Cagen Luse is an illustrator/graphic artist who creates work that celebrates African American heritage, as well as challenges our assumptions about race and ethnicity. He intentionally depicts underrepresented identities of people of color; as husbands/fathers, urban gardeners/farmers, “racially-ambiguous,” superheroes, “nerds,” and traditional American icons.