Join us for a panel discussion on "The Matter of Atrocity" between artists Samuel Levi Jones and Torkwase Dyson, moderated by Nijah Cunningham. Jones and Dyson have, respectively, founded remarkable practices that take a critical look at both history and the archive. Attuned to injustices that continue to shape the present—such as slavery, settler colonialism, and empire—they each refract the material legacies of past atrocities through the lens of abstraction. The talk will address the artists' interdisciplinary approaches to the matter of atrocity and explore how each merges social theory, environmental justice, and critiques of gendered violence with aesthetic form.
The event is presented in conjunction with the gallery's current exhibition, Samuel Levi Jones: Mass Awakening. For the past decade, Jones has taken materials across varying disciplines to deconstruct and mend their associated, often unjust histories. From pulped outmoded books to stripped-apart sports equipment, the exhibition aggregates a wide-ranging body of work to consider how seemingly different narratives correlate. As Jones says, “To what extent do these forms of atrocity, when seen only in isolation, prevent us from understanding how our struggles against them are connected?”
Working in multiple mediums, Torkwase Dyson describes herself as a painter whose forms address the continuity of ecology, infrastructure, and architecture. She merges ideas such as site and built environments, nature, and culture under the rubric of environmentalism. Fascinated with transformations, ambiguities, and environmental changes that place these subjects in relationship to each other, her work revolves around investigating our connections to imagination, materiality, geography, and belonging.
Nijah Cunningham is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Hunter College, CUNY. His writing has appeared in platforms such as Small Axe, Women and Performance, The New Inquiry, and Africa is a Country. He is the curator of Hold: A Meditation on Black Aesthetics (Princeton University Art Museum, 2018) and co-curator of Caribbean Queer Visualities (The Small Axe Project, 2016), and The Visual Life of Social Affliction (The Small Axe Project, 2019-2020).