Dawoud Bey spotlights PhotoNOLA photo festival in December | Events

Photographs of plantations have often focused on large columned mansions, framed as symbols of wealth, beauty and the South. Any reference to the underlying mechanism of the plantation economy: slavery is generally omitted.

In his black and white photographs of five Louisiana plantations, Dawoud Bey takes a fresh look at the heritage of the plantations. The full 24 large-scale photo project is called “In This Here Place,” and eight of them along with a video made at the Evergreen Plantation are on display at the Historic New Orleans Collection as part of Prospect.5 , the triennial international art that runs until January 23, 2022.

Bey’s work is also on the list for PhotoNOLA shows. The annual photography festival events are scheduled from Wednesday, December 8 through Sunday, December 12, but broadcast dates vary and many continue through 2022. Bey is also featured in the PhotoNOLA artist conference at 2 p.m. Saturday, December 7. 11, at the Théâtre de Toulouse.

The plantation photos are the third major project Bey has produced on black history. Bey first rose to prominence in New York in the 1970s for his black and white portraits. Ten years ago he completed a project based on the Birmingham church bombing and the murder of six black children – including four girls killed in the bomb blast and two boys shot dead within hours which followed – in September 1963. He presented diptychs of identical people. the age of the victims, one person being the age of the deceased victim and another being the age of the victim, in order to conceptualize the time lag and lost potential of young victims.

Bey then completed a project on the Underground Railroad. It featured photos of landscapes, some of historic sites, and although they were taken in daylight, they appeared to be night photos, reminiscent of what the sites might have looked like to people fleeing to the city. freedom.

Then he turned to the history of Louisiana and New Orleans as a major slave market.

“My interest in plantation photography stems from my interest in continuing this ongoing historic project, as the institution of slavery and the experience of African-American slavery are absolutely formative for the history of this country. “Bey told Gambit. “I wanted to do some work on these places which are the first places where enslaved Africans became African-Americans. Much of the tensions and issues surrounding the breed in this country can be attributed directly to the experience and relationships that were forged on the plantation. The abuse of black bodies, the perception of blacks as consumables and less than humans begins on the plantation. “

In many photos, trees old enough to have been on the grounds of working plantations evoke the passage of time.

“I use the medium of photography as a vehicle to activate the imagination so that the viewer is inexplicably drawn into the past,” Bey says. “All of these projects have to do with witnessing and bringing the past into a contemporary conversation.”

Prospect.5’s three-channel video installation features a soundscape by composer and singer Imani Uzuri. It evokes voices from the past, as well as black vocal traditions rooted in plantations, Bey says.

The film is built around a performance shot at Generations Hall in November 2020.

At the artist’s talk, curator Brian Piper will speak with Bey about the photos from Prospect.5 and how the history and place have figured into his career work.

For her next project, Bey will travel to Virginia and to the landscapes where some of the first ships carrying slaves arrived in the colony, and where many of these people were bought and sold.

At the Historic New Orleans collection, Bey’s photos are on display along with a selection of portraits of George Dureau, whose work has also been included in Prospect. 1.

PhotoNOLA includes a wide range of photo exhibitions in museums, art and photography galleries and other spaces. The New Orleans Museum of Art offers an exhibition exploring the history of photographic images and their transmission, as well as a photo exhibition by Ishimoto Yasuhiro. There are two exhibitions of portraits of musicians at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. There is an outdoor show on the Lafitte Green Lane with images of women and gender nonconforming individuals presented by Photoville, Women Photograph and PhotoNOLA. The New Orleans Photo Alliance gallery, which organizes PhotoNOLA, features Vikesh Kapoor’s photos of his parents and their life in Pennsylvania since emigrating from India in 1971.

The festival’s opening reception Wednesday at the Broadside features a spectacle of projected images of the devastation of Hurricane Ida by photographers from The Times-Picayune. There will also be footage from a project on the Dillard University Women’s Basketball Team by Ashley Teamer and Annie Flanagan. The reception also features works by other artists and music from Naked on the Floor.

Regular PhotoNOLA events include portfolio reviews, a photo walk with artists sharing their portfolios, and the work of Photo Alliance members at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. There are workshops on Polaroid transfers, tintype and other topics.

Last year’s event was completely virtual, but there are only a few virtual events this year, including the virtual book fair and a seminar featuring Afghan-born photographer Zalmai.

Visit photonola.org for a list of festival events and over 40 photography shows at local venues.


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