The Global Art Project

Engine for Art, Democracy & Justice Announces Artist Interventions for Fall 2022

Engine for Art, Democracy & Justice in Nashville, Tennessee, founded by Dr. María Magdalena Campos Pons, is pleased to announce five artist interventions to take place this fall as part of "Artistic Activism and the Power of Collective Resistance" curated by independent curator, Selene Wendt. EADJ is a trans-institutional partnership between Vanderbilt University Department of Art, The Frist Art Museum, Fisk University and Millions of Conversations focused on building spaces of empowerment at the intersection of art, democracy, and justice. Dr. Campos Pons is the Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair Professor of Fine Arts at Vanderbilt University and launched EADJ as part of her appointment to build visuality and cross disciplinary partnerships between Vanderbilt University and cultural institutions and communities across Nashville.

The EADJ 2022/2023 program, "Artistic Activism and the Power of Collective Resistance" places emphasis on contemporary artists and thinkers who are at the forefront of decolonial thinking. The program includes 16 panel discussion featuring more than 70 participants from around the world, with particular emphasis on the Global South and the Southern United States. The program also includes numerous artworks including installations, performances, film screenings, sonic works, poetry readings, creative workshops and collaborative projects to take place in cultural venues, historical sites, and public spaces throughout Nashville.

"We are at a time in history when socially engaged practices are more important than ever. In direct response to the countless social, economic, and racial injustices experienced by individuals throughout the world, an increasing number of contemporary artists are extending beyond their studio practices and leading the way in terms of raising sociopolitical awareness and implementing societal change through art." Selene Wendt, 2022.

Artistic Activism and the Power of Collective Resistance, EADJ Program, curated by Selene Wendt.

EADJ fall 2022 artist interventions:
Nyugen E. Smith, Bundle House (Te’nashcity)
Large-scale sculpture and live performance. This migrating found object sculpture, created in Nashville, draws upon Nashville’s history related to The Great Migration, and its vulnerability to climate disaster as the flood of 2010 demonstrated. October 26, 2022 4pm CST Outside Little Theatre on the quad, Fisk University Carl Van Vechten Galleries / 5pm CST Reception & exhibition tour of, African Modernism in America, 1947-1967.

The Carl Van Vechten Galleries, Fisk University, Jackson St & Dr DB Todd Jr Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208.

Christopher Cozier, Version #7 Home/Portal 
Artistic action. This work addresses the idea of a place or condition that is in between—the location you leave and to which you never fully return. Activated in collaboration with the Nashville-based photographer LeXander Bryant. Ongoing starting October 20, 2022.

Ebony G. Patterson, She Is... 
Monumental digital photographs. Originally commissioned by Monument Labs for the Staying Power project in Philadelphia, these large-scale works, installed in public spaces, honor the under-acknowledged labor of women. Ongoing starting November 2022 in multiple sites across Nashville.  

Jeannette Ehlers, We’re Magic. We’re Real (These Walls), 2021 
Live performance & braiding circle. Presented in the United States for the first time, this ongoing series of work makes use of hair as an important marker of identity across communities of African descent, as a simple but powerful gesture. November 16, 2022 4pm CST, Cravath Hall first floor foyer, Fisk University. Cravath Hall, 1000 DB Todd Blvd. Nashville, Tennessee.

Cristal Chanelle Truscott, Plantation Remix: Community Collaboratives 
A series of ensemble workshops throughout fall 2022. Check the EADJ website for updated performance dates in March 2023. 

To view the past and ongoing virtual panel discussions currently being offered, visit the EADJ website.

2023 spring EADJ virtual panel discussions: 
Episode eight: Mending the Social Fabric of Our Time (registration link)
Virtual panel discussion. Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 10–12pm CST in Nashville.

Episode nine: The Power of a Collective Chorus (registration link)
Virtual panel discussion. Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 10–12pm CST in Nashville.

Episode ten: Bodies in Motion as a Call to Freedom (in-person live event/livestream) 
Livestream panel discussion, for registration, please check the EADJ website. Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 10–12pm CST in Nashville.

Episode eleven: Through the Lens of Social Justice (registration link)
Virtual panel discussion. Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 10–12pm CST in Nashville.

Selene Wendt to curate Vanderbilt University’s Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice

Focusing on art as an act of solidarity and resistance, the 2022/23 Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice platform will bring together outstanding individuals from various creative disciplines whose work helps to reframe and rewrite the past, enabling us to rethink how we can fight against the social injustices of our time and reimagine a more socially just future for all. The 2022/23 programming is conceived to foster inclusive, meaningful dialogues and collaborations that will have a real impact that will resonate beyond academia and the art world. Taking a distinctly transdisciplinary, transcultural, transhistorical approach to decolonial thinking, the programming highlights socially and politically engaged art practices that confront the social and political challenges of our time through a series of panels, artistic interventions, performances, poetry, music and art that will take place at cultural venues, historical sites and public spaces throughout Nashville.

Forthcoming book to be co-published by The Africa Institute and Skira.

Beyond the Door of No Return: Confronting Hidden Colonial Histories through Contemporary Art. This richly illustrated book focuses on the lesser-known details of colonial history, with particular emphasis on stories of resistance and rebellion against colonial rule. The contemporary artists featured in this book include John Akomfrah, La Vaughn Belle, Manthia Diawara, Jeannette Ehlers, Michelle Eistrup, Sasha Huber, Oceana James, Patricia Kaersenhout, Grada Kilomba, Suchitra Mattai, and Alberta Whittle, who are all at the forefront of decolonial thinking. Through their artworks, they convey compelling narratives that shed light on the entangled colonial histories that connect Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. Collectively, these artists provide crucial insight into some of the lesser-known aspects of colonial history, such as Norwegian involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. These artists convey unique resistance stories about fearless freedom fighters such as Venus Johannes, Mary Thomas, Olaudah Equiano, and Anna Heegaard, thereby allowing for a deeper, more nuanced understanding of colonial history than the historical narratives that have typically been told from a Western perspective. These are stories of empowerment and resistance that help, at least partially, to set the historical record straight. By highlighting the stories of those who have been historically silenced, we gain access to a more nuanced understanding of colonial history and the factors which have contributed to the continued effects of colonialism today, most evidently witnessed in the prevalence of racism, poverty, and forced migration.  The author’s experience as a curator of contemporary art is strongly influenced by longtime research in cultural studies, postcolonial theory, and African and African diaspora aesthetics.  Image: John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea (2015) Three-channel color video installation, 7.1 surround sound, 48 minutes, 30 seconds Smoking Dogs Films.

Hyperallergic lists Rios Intermitentes as one of the top 15 exhibitions worldwide in 2019

​Rios Intermitentes, a special exhibition project by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, which was an official part of the 13th Havana Biennial, was chosen as one of the best 15 exhibitions worldwide in 2019 by Hyperallergic. Her curatorial team was comprised of Octavio Zaya, Salah Hassan, and Selene Wendt. This was the first time ever that The Havana Biennial also took place in other Cuban cities, including Matanzas. A native of Matanzas, Campos-Pons sought to revitalize the city through artistic gestures that succeeded in reviving local traditions and forgotten sites by creating artistic exchanges that empowered the community and helped renew a sense of cultural pride. In the selection of participating local and international artists, emphasis was placed on social actions that would have a long-term impact on the city of Matanzas. Campos-Pons and the curatorial team were interested in looking at the city of Matanzas with new eyes to reconsider its traditions and to revitalize the local art scene through a unique exhibition platform where local and international artists would converge. There were over 50 international and local participating artists including Marilá Dardot, Iftikhar Dadi, Augustín Drake, Melvin Edwards, Olu Oguibe, Ramon Pacheco, Adriana Perez, Dawit Petros, Tracey Snelling, Carrie Mae Weems, Cosmo Whyte, and Manthia Diawara, to name only a few.

Dates and venue set for “Listening to the Echoes of the South Atlantic”

“Listening to the Echoes of the South Atlantic” is a sound-based, multidisciplinary exhibition that features a combination of sound-based visual art, interventions, and performances that convey the importance of sonic politics in relation to the history, present, and future of the South Atlantic. The exhibition was selected among the proposed projects as part of the three-year interdisciplinary research project initiated by the Goethe-Institut, Sao Paulo, Echoes of the South Atlantic. The first stage of the research project took place in April 2018 in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. The conference addressed the question of the future of Southern Transatlantic relations, particularly concerning the past, present and future role of Europe within this context, and set out to explore possible answers through a multi-disciplinary, multi-spatial and multi-temporal approach that included lectures, discussions, performances, and artistic interventions. One overriding theme that resonated throughout the first conference was the sociopolitical importance of music. As such, the exhibition was conceived as an active response to many of the questions set forth in the first Echoes conference. Taking a transcultural, transatlantic approach as a starting point, the exhibition explores the political, social, and cultural implications of music, highlighting the significance of music as a mediator of cultural experience and history. Addressing issues of site and context, the exhibition examines how visual and performing artists implement music as a means of bringing history and memory into spaces of contemporaneity. Building on the historical importance of music in relation to the development of what Paul Gilroy defines as black Atlantic culture, the exhibition explores the sociopolitical implications of music in contemporary visual and performance art practices. The project reflects a very conscious approach to what music represents beyond a pure sonic experience. Placing emphasis on the sociopolitical importance of music directs attention towards the ways in which the underlying narratives are entangled and interconnected. Naturally, strong emphasis is placed on artists from the South Atlantic, who are set in dialogue with one another to convey the importance of thinking in Glissantian terms about the idea of echos monde, understood as the world of things resonating with one another. Participating artists: Cássio Bomfim, Jeannette Ehlers, Anita Ekman, Satch Hoyt, Neo Muyanga & William Kentridge, Camille Norment, Dawit L. Petros, and Nyugen E. Smith. The exhibition will take place at Oslo Kunstforening February 6 - April 5, 2020, and a series of live-performances will also take place at Nordic Black Theatre.