Women in the Face of History
Photograph by Jennifer Datchuk
This exhibition helps us to think about the complicated history of women’s suffrage in America—to engage with the complexities of historical narratives, enduring inequalities, and the contested meanings of citizenship and rights.
The exhibition originated in a collaboration with the Park Avenue Armory entitled 100 Years/100 Women that brought together 100 commissioned artists and cultural creators to respond to and interrogate women’s suffrage.
By centering women as the subjects of history, this work leads us to consider what is at stake in the exercise of suffrage. Why did women fight for suffrage if not to participate in power, to lead, and to hold those in power accountable? Why did they struggle if not for the right to imagine and achieve change on their own terms? These artists take the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting some women the right to vote, as their point of departure—and bring us to reflection on what is worth our struggle.
Featuring: Sama Alshaibi, Zalika Azim, Zoë Buckman & Michi Matter Jigarjian, Renee Cox, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Rose DeSiano, Nekisha Durrett, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Karen Finley, Tsedaye Makonnen, Lorie Novak, Yelaine Rodriguez, Deb Willis
About The Artists
Sama Alshaibi’s photographs, videos, and installations examine the mechanisms of fragmentation in the aftermath of war and exile. They often feature a female figure that references a complex site of struggle and identification, while confronting a history of photographs and moving images through a feminist perspective. Recent exhibitions include State of the Art 2020 at Crystal Bridges (Arkansas), 13th Cairo International Biennale (Egypt, 2019), and solo exhibitions at Ayyam Gallery (Dubai, 2019) and Artpace (San Antonio, 2019). Alshaibi received the 2019 Project Development Award from CENTER (Santa Fe), 2018 Artist Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the 2017 Visual Arts Grant from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Beirut). Her monograph, “Sama Alshaibi: Sand Rushes In,” was published by Aperture, NYC. Alshaibi’s 21 solo exhibitions and over 150 group exhibitions include the 55th Venice Biennale, Pen + Brush (NYC, 2019), 2018 Breda Photo Festival (Netherlands), American University Museum (Washington D.C., 2018), 2017 Honolulu Biennial, Marta Herford Museum (Germany, 2017), Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art (NY, 2017), SMoCA (Scottsdale, 2016), the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Bronx Museum (NYC), Arab American National Museum (Michigan), Edge of Arabia (London), Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris), and Busan Museum of Art (South Korea). Alshaibi is a Palestinian-Iraqi American and was born in Basra, Iraq. Alshaibi is co-chair and professor of photography, video, and imaging at the University of Arizona.
Zalika Azim is a New York-based artist conceptualizing her practice through photography, installation, performance, text, and sound. Exploring personal and collective narratives, her work investigates the ways in which memory, migration, belonging, and Black movement are negotiated throughout the African diaspora. Azim’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, at institutions including the International Center of Photography, Dean Collection, Maryland Institute College of Art, Welancora Gallery, Diego Rivera Gallery, Instituto Superior de Arte, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. She has completed solo projects with the Baxter Street Camera Club of New York and SOHO20. Azim received a BFA in photography and imaging from the Tisch School of the Arts and a B.A. in social and cultural analysis from New York University. She is a 2019–2020 Shandaken: Governors Island Artist-in-Residence and recently co-curated Countermythologies, currently on view as the inaugural exhibition at NXTHVN—an arts incubator founded by artist Titus Kaphar in New Haven, Connecticut.
Zoë Buckman was born in Hackney, East London. She studied at the International Center of Photography, and was awarded an Art Matters Grant in 2017. She has shown in solo exhibitions at Gavlak Gallery in Los Angeles, Papillion Art in Los Angeles, Project for Empty Space in Newark, Garis & Hahn Gallery in Los Angeles, and Milk Gallery in New York. Public art installations include For Freedoms 50 State Initiative, the Inaction is Apathy billboard at 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville, Arkansas, and Champ at the Standard, Downtown LA with Art Production Fund.
Michi Matter Jigarjian is a socially-engaged artist, community facilitator, and educator and has been the president of Baxter St. at the Camera Club of New York since 2011. The organization is a long standing artist-run nonprofit organization, which operates to create platforms of community engagement and progress for under-represented and emerging lens-based artists. She brought the organization to its current location and led its revitalization in 2013. She is co-founder of the project-based publishing press Secretary Press and New Draft Collective. Jigarjian is a partner in the 7G Group—an investment management firm that employs values-based investments to create sustainable, socially responsible, long term projects. She focuses on the social impact of the group’s investments through the engagement of community and art. She serves on the board of the Brooklyn Museum, National YoungArts, Beat the Streets PHILADELPHIA, and the International Women’s Health Coalition. Her books include ”Writing as Practice,” ”How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood,” and the three-volume series ”Mold.” She is currently on faculty at Bard/ICP’s MFA program.
Renee Cox is a Jamaican-born African-American artist known for her provocative photographs and videos that address racism and sexism in society. Cox’s feminist critique is exemplified in her self-portrait Hot en Tot (1994). Born in Colgate, Jamaica, Cox worked as a fashion photographer in Paris and then New York. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and later participated in the Whitney Independent Study program. She continues to push the envelope with her work by using new technologies that the digital medium of photography has to offer. By working from her archives and shooting new subjects, Cox seeks to push the limits of her older work and create new consciousnesses of the body. Cox’s new work aims to “unleash the potential of the ordinary and bring it into a new realm of possibilities. It’s about time that we re-imagine our own constitutions.”
Jennifer Ling Datchuk holds an MFA in artisanry from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a BFA in crafts from Kent State University. Trained in ceramics, the artist works with porcelain and other materials often associated with traditional women’s work—such as textiles and hair—to discuss fragility, beauty, femininity, intersectionality, identity, and personal history. She has participated in residencies at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany, a pottery workshop in Jingdezhen, China, and the European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands. She is a United States Artist 2020 Fellow in Craft. She resides in San Antonio, Texas, where she is assistant professor of art at Texas State University.
Rose DeSiano brings photography and sculpture together in a public art practice that examines cultural symbolism, the collective consciousness, and the long, tangled history of the photograph and the monument as both a truth-teller and myth-maker. Commissioned by multiple cities, her photo-sculptures have appeared in New York City, San Diego, and Cleveland and have received multiple international awards, including the Uniqlo Parks Grant and the FLOW.17 Public Art Award. Her gallery artwork has been exhibited in solo shows on the east and west coasts of the United States and Europe, along with several group museum exhibitions (Bronx Art Museum, Allentown Museum of Art, Heritage Museum of Málaga), along with international art fairs (Photoville, FOTOFOCUS, Orange Changsha Photo, China). DeSiano has her MFA from Art Center, LA, and her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Nekisha Durrett’s large-scale public art, installations, and drawings result from her longtime interest in the graphic style of comics and advertising, the layered meanings that objects can hold, and the space where fantasy, imagination, and history can converge. Durrett’s work seeks to manifest presence through arresting imagery and/or scale while bringing to the fore figuration and language that is often underrepresented or overlooked in visual culture. Her most recent installation titled Up ‘til Now, a freestanding, solar powered sculpture that evokes the history of Washington D.C.’s landscape and architecture, can be found in Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.
Adama Delphine Fawundu is a photographer and visual artist born in Brooklyn, New York to parents from Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, West Africa. Fawundu co-founded and independently published the sold-out book “MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora.” In recognition of her artistic practice, Fawundu was nominated for and won the Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Award, named one of OkayAfrica’s 100 Women Making an Impact on Africa and its Diaspora, and included in the Royal Photographic Society’s Hundred Heroines in 2018. Fawundu has exhibited internationally, with solo shows in 2019 at the African American Museum in Philadelphia and Crush Curatorial Gallery in Chelsea, NYC.
Karen Finley works in many mediums including installation, video, performance, public art, visual art, entertainment, television and film, memorials, music, and literature. She has presented at world-wide venues, such as Paris’s Bobino, London’s ICA, and New York’s Lincoln Center. Her work is in collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Pompidou. Books include: the 25th anniversary edition of “Shock Treatment” (City Lights 2015), “Reality Shows” (Feminist Press 2011), and “George and Martha” (Verso, 2008), plus five others. Her recent work includes Artist Anonymous (Museum of Art and Design, 2014), Written in Sand, Open Heart (Camp Gusen, Austria), Broken Negative, and Sext Me If You Can (New Museum). Awards and grants include: Guggenheim, NYSCA, and NEA Fellowships, as well as the Richard J Massey Foundation Arts and Humanities Award (2015). Finley holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.
Tsedaye Makonnen is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, researcher and cultural producer, whose studio, practice threads together her identity as a Black mother, birthworker and a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants. Makonnen primarily focuses on migration and intersectional feminism; using light, shadow, reflection, fractals, embodiment, movement and collaboration as materials. Her intention is to create a spiritual network around the globe that aims to re-calibrate the energy towards something positive and life affirming.
Makonnen is the recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. She has performed at the Venice Biennale, Art Basel Miami, Art on the Vine (Martha’s Vineyard), Chale Wote Street Art Festival (Ghana), El Museo del Barrio, Fendika Cultural Center (Ethiopia), Festival International d’Art Performance (Martinique), Queens Museum, the Smithsonian’s and more. Her light sculptures have been exhibited at the National Gallery of Art, UNTITLED Art Fair and acquired by the Smithsonian for their permanent collection. She has been featured in the NYTimes, Vogue, BOMB, Hyperallergic, Artnet, Artsy, and more. Her recent exhibitions include 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London, Park Avenue Armory, National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Momentary and Art Dubai. She recently published a book with Washington Project for the Arts titled Black Women as/and the Living Archive, exhibited at the Walters Art Museum as a Sondheim Prize Finalist and CFHill gallery in Stockholm, Sweden. Makonnen is represented by Addis Fine Art and currently lives in DC.
Lorie Novak’s photographs, installations, and Internet projects explore issues of memory and transmission, the relationship between the intimate and the public, the shifting cultural meanings of photographs, and how we can use archives to reframe the past and suggest new narratives. Her work has been in numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Her collaborative collectedvisions.net, 1996-present, exploring how family photographs shape our memory, was one of the earliest interactive storytelling websites. Novak is the recipient of two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, a NEA Fellowship, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, and residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center (Italy), Bogliasco Foundation, (Italy); ArtSway (England), Mac Dowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Djerassi Foundation. Her photographs are in numerous permanent collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ, The Jewish Museum, NY, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, Museum of Modern Art, NY, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Novak is a professor of photography and imaging at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the founder and director of Future Imagemakers, a social practice project at Tisch Photography and Imaging that offers a free digital photography workshop to New York City area high school students. See www.lorienovak.com.
Yelaine Rodriguez, the Bronx-born curator and interdisciplinary artist, received her BFA from the New School (2013), and her master’s from NYU (2021). Her curatorial portfolio includes Afro Syncretic at NYU, Resistance, Roots, and Truth at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, and (under) REPRESENT (ed) at The New School. Rodriguez participated in the Bronx Museum AIM Program (2020), the Latinx Project Curatorial Fellowship (2019), Wave Hill Van Lier Fellowship (2018), and ICA Fellowship from the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (2017). She has exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History, Rush Art Gallery, El Centro Cultural de España, and Centro León Biennial.
Deborah Willis, Ph.D, is a photographer and chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Willis is the author of “Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present” and “Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs.” Willis’s curated exhibitions include In Pursuit of Beauty at Express Newark. Since 2006, she has co-organized thematic conferences exploring imaging the Black body in the West, such as the conference titled “Black Portraiture[s],” held in Johannesburg in 2016.
About The Organization
The Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts is a four-year BFA program situated within New York University. Centered on the making and understanding of images, the program offers students both the intensive focus of an arts curriculum while demanding a broad grounding in the liberal arts. Our department embraces multiple perspectives, with majors exploring photo-based imagery as personal and cultural expression, while working in virtually all modes of analog and digital photo-based image-making, multimedia, and new media.