Upcoming Exhibition: Race, Myth, Art, and Justice
Current Exhibition

Race, Myth, Art, and Justice Exhibition 

On View: November 15, 2018 -  June 15, 2019



Exhibition Description:

The exhibition explores intersecting ideas of race, myth, art, and justice through the lens and unique interpretations of twelve inter-generational photographers. Via innovative contemporary art practices, the photographers engage with the premise of “race” as a social construct rooted in myth, while simultaneously interrogating its profound implications and indignities on our 21st-century lives.

With roots in the United States and throughout Africa and the Caribbean—including Guyana, Jamaica, Nevis, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Martin, and Sierra Leone—the photographers draw from an African Diasporic worldview steeped in their personal experiences as well as larger geographical political histories. Collectively, their images offer a poignant and provocative portrait of the ways the mythology of race and the pursuit of justice continue to permeate the global African experience.

Race, Myth, Art, and Justice celebrates a community of voices who illuminate how art continues to serve as a powerful tool for justice. As part of CCCADI’s commitment to public engagement and collaboration, the curators invited thirteen dynamic scholars, activists, artists, and writers to reflect on the exhibition’s works. Through their thoughtful framing, we witness how the images transcend limiting labels of “political,” “radical,” or “protest” art. These photographs are not merely gestures or symbolic meditations on race and justice. Instead, they reflect exclusion, erasure, and invisibility as the lived realities we wrestle and resist every day.

The exhibition is a component of the Race, Myth, Art, and Justice project conceived by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega and Creative Justice Initiative, Inc.

Featured Artists:
Kwesi Abbensetts, Faisal Abdu’Allah, Terry Boddie, Jonathan Gardenhire, John E. Dowell, Jr. Adama Delphine Fawundu, Deborah Jack, Zoraida Lopez-Diago, Radcliffe Roye, Stan Squirewell, Ming Smith, Deborah Willis.

Featured Writers: 
Patrick Bova, Garnette Cadogan, Christopher Cozier, Tao Leigh Goffe, Claude Grunitzky, Natalie Hopkinson, Oneka LaBennett, Bárbaro Martínez-Ruiz, Pamela Newkirk, Seph Rodney, Niama Safia Sandy, and Brittany Webb.

Curators: Grace Aneiza Ali and C. Daniel Dawson

Project Coordinator: Marta Moreno Vega, President of the Creative Justice Initiative

Meet the Curators

Grace Aneiza Ali

Curator Grace Aneiza Ali is an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in Art & Public Policy, at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and curator and editor. She is the founder and editorial director of OF NOTE Magazine—an award-winning nonprofit arts journalism initiative reporting on the intersection of art, politics, and activism. Ali’s curatorial research practice and exhibitions center on socially engaged art and contemporary art of the Caribbean and its diaspora, with a focus on her homeland Guyana. She is the founder and curator of Guyana Modern, an online platform for the contemporary arts and culture of Guyana and its diaspora. Ali is the recipient of the following awards that have generously supported her work: NYU Provost Faculty Fellowship, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Grant, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Curatorial Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship, NYU Henry M. MacCracken Fellowship. She is also a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.

C. Daniel Dawson

A multi-talented artist, C. Daniel Dawson has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, curator, arts administrator, consultant, and scholar. He has served as Curator of Photography, Film and Video at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Director of Special Projects at the Caribbean Cultural Center, New York; Program Manager at the American Museum of Natural History, New York; and Curatorial Consultant and Director of Education at the Museum for African Art, New York. As a photographer, he has shown in over 40 exhibitions and curated more than 70 exhibitions including Harlem Heyday: The Photographs of James Van Der Zee and The Sound I Saw: The Jazz Photographs of Roy DeCarava. Prof. Dawson has also taught seminars on African Spirituality in the Americas at Columbia University, University of Iowa, New York University, and Yale University. He currently works with New York University (the Gallatin School), Columbia University (IRAAS), and Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors (La Casita).

Dr. Marta Moreno Vega

Institution builder for over 40 years, Dr. Marta Moreno Vega’s spirit has led her to many roles: world-renowned author, professor, scholar-activist, and doctor in African Religions. As an institution builder, she played an important role in the development of El Museo del Barrio, and other arts-based initiatives. Most notably, Dr. Vega is the founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, which she served as president until 2018. Dr. Vega’s latest endeavor, the Creative Justice Initiative, links art, social justice, and scholarship. Currently, Dr. Vega is celebrating the re-release of her book When the Spirits Dance the Mambo as part of her multimedia “Spirit Tour.”

Meet the Artists

Kwesi Abbensetts (b. 1976, Guyana) is a New York-based photographer and visual artist. His work has been included in Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Baltimore; African & African-Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival, London; Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, Newark; Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, New York; and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York. Abbensetts is a 2016 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Photography.



Faisal Abdu’Allah (b. 1969, United Kingdom) graduated from the Royal College of Art where he received a Ph.D. in 2012. Cited in over 50 publications, he has exhibited at Tate Modern, London; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Serpentine Galleries, London; 55th Venice Biennale, Venice; and Royal Academy of Arts, London. His works are in the collections of Tate Britain; London; The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; California African American Museum, Los Angeles; National Maritime Museum, London; Arts Council Collection, London; and Chazen Museum of Art, Madison. Abdu'Allah is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant, University of Wisconsin-Madison Romnes Faculty Fellowship, and was awarded the first prize at the Tallinn Print Triennial. Currently, he is exhibiting at Aston Hall in the UK in Walls Have Ears: 400 Years of Change, and recently appeared on The Robert Elms Show on BBC Radio London discussing his last solo show Duppy Conqueror, 2018. He is represented by Autograph ABP, UK and Magnolia Editions, U.S. Abdu’Allah maintains studios in London and Madison, currently residing in the U.S.


Terry Boddie (b. 1965, Nevis) explores the historical and contemporary aspects of memory, migration, and globalization with his images often blurring the distinctions between photography, drawing, and painting. Boddie received his BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and MFA from Hunter College. His work has been recently exhibited in KREYOL Factory at the Parc La Villette in Paris, France and in Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York. He has been featured in exhibitions at the Smithsonian, Washington, DC; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Philadelphia Museum, Philadelphia; and Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC, among other venues. Awards and honors include the Studio Museum of Harlem Artist-in-Residence, Center for Photography at Woodstock Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, The Center for Book Arts Artist-in-Residence, Marie Sharpe Walsh Artist-in-Residence, and a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship to study at the Brodsky Center.


Jonathan Gardenhire (b. 1992, United States) is an artist and culture producer whose practice critically examines how constructions of power, value, and knowledge are produced and shared. Gardenhire’s work has been exhibited at The Kitchen, New York; Medium Tings, New York; International Center of Photography, New York; Slought Foundation, Philadelphia; and Bronx Art Space, New York, among others. He received his BFA from Parsons School of Design.


John E. Dowell, Jr. (b. 1941, United States) a nationally recognized artist, captures the pulse of cities and agricultural landscapes of America in his large-scale photographs. An artist and master printer for more than four decades, Dowell's fine art prints, paintings, and photographs have been featured in more than 50 solo exhibitions and represented in the permanent collections of 70 museum and public collections. Among them are the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Fogg Museum of Harvard University, Cambridge; Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence; and Lehigh University Museum, Bethlehem. In fall 2018, COTTON: The Soft Dangerous Beauty of the Past will be on exhibit at The African American Museum in Philadelphia.


Adama Delphine Fawundu is a photographer and visual artist born in Brooklyn, New York to parents from Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, West Africa. She is the co-founder and author of the book and journal MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. Fawundu is a 2016 New York Foundation of the Arts Photography Fellow and recipient of grants from the Open Society Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn Historical Society, Columbia University, and Puffin Foundation. Recently, Fawundu was awarded the BRICworkspace residency to create new works in a private studio in Brooklyn, New York. Past work can be found in private and public collections including Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Brooklyn Historical Society, New York; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; Corridor Gallery, New York; and Museum of Contemporary Art, University of São Paulo, Brazil. She holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University.

Deborah Jack (b. 1970, Netherlands) is an artist whose work is based in video/sound installation, photography, painting, and text. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in the Caribbean, Europe, and United States including Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago at the Museum of Latin American Art in Los Angeles and Revival: Contemporary Pattern and Decoration at Longwood Art Gallery in conjunction with El Museo del Barrio, in New York City. She has been featured in exhibitions at the 2014 SITE Santa Fe Biennial, Santa Fe; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Jersey City Museum, Jersey City; and the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, New York. Jack has published two poetry collections, The Rainy Season (1997) and skin (2006). She is an Associate Professor of Art at New Jersey City University.

Zoraida Lopez-Diago (b. 1981, United States) is an artist, photographer, and co-founder of Women Picturing Revolution, an organization that highlights female photographers who document conflicts, crises, and revolution in private realms and public spaces. Lopez-Diago frequently photographs those who are often forgotten and left behind including incarcerated women caught in the middle of Colombia’s drug wars, families of the disappeared, and children of undocumented and migrant farm workers. Her installations, photographs, and performance pieces have been exhibited in galleries including Rush Arts Gallery, New York; New York University, New York; and Paul Bardwell Gallery in Medellín, Colombia. Her images have been published in Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora, OF NOTE Magazine, GOOD Magazine, World Policy Institute Journal, El Diario, and Democracy Now. Lopez-Diago is co-publishing an edited volume of essays on representations of Black motherhood in contemporary photography forthcoming in 2019/2020.

Radcliffe Roye (b. 1969, Jamaica) is a Brooklyn-based documentary photographer specializing in editorial and environmental portraits, and photojournalism. He is inspired by the raw and gritty lives of grassroots people, especially those of his homeland Jamaica. Roye has worked with National Geographic, TIME, New York Times, Vogue, Jet, Ebony, ESPN, Essence, and Newsday. He is known for his documentation of the global dancehall scene, documenting how Jamaicans and other dancers use the language of dance as a tool of activism. Radcliffe has also been instrumental in leading the Instagram charge as a photographer showcasing his community of Bed-Stuy and Brooklyn as a whole. Roye is an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University, where he engages with photography students about the rise of Instagram and changing the face of photojournalism. Most recently his work was featured at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York and on The New York Times Lens Blog.


Stan Squirewell (b. 1978, United States) is a painter, photographer, installation, and performance artist who draws inspiration from African and Native American history, science fiction, avant-garde jazz, and indigenous storytelling. The subject matter of his multilayered world tackles themes such as: aboriginal customs, race, and memory through mythology, sacred geometry, and science. Squirewell’s artistic training began at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC and continued at the Hoffberger School of Painting where he received an MFA. He is the first winner of the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series in partnership with Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. He has performed with Nick Cave (Soundsuits) at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC and Jefferson Pinder at G Fine Art, Washington, DC. His works are in the collections of Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Baltimore; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Squirewell was born and raised in Washington, DC. He currently lives and works in Harlem, New York.

Ming Smith’s career emerged formally with the publication of the Black Photographer’s Annual in 1973. Two years later she became the first female member of the influential Harlem-based photography collective Kamoinge Workshop, an association of several generations of black photographers. That same year, she was the first African-American female photographer whose work was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art where later, in 2010, she was included in their exhibition Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography. Smith has had numerous solo exhibitions: Steven Kasher Gallery, New York; The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; June Kelly Gallery, New York; and the African American Museum, Philadelphia. Her work is included in collections at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; AT&T Corporation, Bedminster; and the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture, Washington, DC.

Deborah Willis, Ph.D., (b. 1948, United States) is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural Analysis, Africana Studies. Her research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, a photographic history of Slavery and Emancipation, contemporary women photographers and beauty. Willis is a recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She is the author of Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present and co-author of The Black Female Body: A Photographic History; Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery; and Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs. Willis’s exhibitions include: In Pursuit of Beauty at Express Newark, Newark; Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits at the International Center of Photography, New York; and Reframing Beauty: Intimate Moments at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Exhibition Related Programming

Race, Myth, Art, and Justice Exhibition | Opening Reception

When: Thursday, November 15, 2018 | 6 pm - 8 pm

Admission: Free with RSVP | Suggested donation $5.00 | RSVP HERE

Learn more about the program by clicking here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/race-myth-art-and-justice-exhibition-opening-reception-tickets-51343554955

Giving Voice to Vision: Art Talk W/ Adama Delphine Fawundu & Radcliffe Roye

When: Thursday, December 13, 2018  | 6 pm - 8 pm

Admission: Free with RSVP | Suggested donation $5.00 | RSVP HERE

Learn more about the program by clicking here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/giving-voice-to-vision-art-talk-w-adama-delphine-fawundu-radcliffe-roye-tickets-53268999010#

Giving Voice to Vision: Art Talk

When: Thursday, February 7, 2019  | 6 pm - 8 pm

Admission: Free with RSVP | Suggested donation $5.00 | RSVP HERE

Learn more about the program by clicking here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/giving-voice-to-vision-art-talk-tickets-54011854912 

The Voice of Justice: The Role of Musicians & Poets W/ Felipe Luciano

When: Thursday, February 28, 2019 | 6 pm - 8 pm

Admission: Free with RSVP | Suggested donation $5.00 | RSVP HERE

Learn more about the program by clicking here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-voice-of-justice-the-role-of-musicians-poets-w-felipe-luciano-tickets-54895448765 

Funder Credits:

Major support for the exhibition has been provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Ford Foundation and The New York Women's Foundation, with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


Race, Myth, Art, and Justice


Radcliffe Roye, Cotton Field, 2014. Digital photography, 60 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist.

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