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Lowell Program

As We Rise Artist Talk


Once, Saturday Sept. 23 2-3pm


Peabody Essex Museum


Peabody Essex Museum

Learn more about the importance of portraiture and the concept of the family album in As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic. Join Wedge Collection founder Dr. Kenneth Montague in conversation with artist Ayana V. Jackson and photographer Teju Cole.

Dr. Kenneth Montague is the founder of the Toronto-based Wedge Collection and Wedge Curatorial Projects. Since 1997, he has been promoting emerging and established artists via exhibitions, lectures and workshops, with a focus on African Canadian artists and diasporic art. Montague has served on the African Art Acquisition Committee at Tate Modern as well as the Photography Curatorial Committee at the Art Gallery of Ontario; he is currently an AGO Trustee and an advisor to their Department of Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora. He is also a trustee of the Aperture Foundation and a member of the jury for the Scotiabank Photography Award, Canada's largest photography prize. His curatorial projects include Becoming: Photographs from the Wedge Collection and Position As Desired: Exploring African Canadian Identity.

Teju Cole is a writer, photographer and curator. He was born in the United States and raised in Nigeria. His books include Open City, Blind Spot and the forthcoming novel Tremor. He has been honored with the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Windham-Campbell Prize, among others. He has had solo exhibitions of his photography in the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, Italy and more. An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is currently Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

Ayana Jackson’s work examines the colonial gaze through the history of photography.  By deconstructing 19th- and 20th-century portraiture, Jackson considers the relationships between the photographer, subject and viewer, and explores themes of race, gender and reproduction. Her work examines myths of the Black diaspora and re-stages colonial archival images as a means  to liberate the Black body. Jackson’s work can be found in The Studio Museum in Harlem, The National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia) and The Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, Illinois), among others. She was a 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow for Photography and the recipient of the 2018 Smithsonian Fellowship. In 2022, Jackson founded Still Art, an artist residency for emerging Southern African artists. In April 2023, she opened her first major exhibition at the National Museum of African Art.


The Arts


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