Visualizing Abolition is created in collaboration with celebrated artists from across the
Visualizing Abolitionection of art and abolition. Below, find artist bios, interviews, and links to
American Artist is an interdisciplinary artist whose work uses video, installation, new media,
and writing to consider Black labor and visibility, as well as anti-blackness within networked
life and digital systems. They completed the Whitney Independent Study Program and are a former
resident of Abrons Art Center and EYEBEAM. They have exhibited at the Museum of African
Diaspora, San Francisco; the Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and
Koenig & Clinton, New York. More...
Whether in the form of drawing, photography or large-scale installation, Sadie Barnette's work
relishes in the abstraction of city space and the transcendence of the mundane to the
imaginative. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally and is
in the permanent collections of museums such as LACMA, Berkeley Art Museum, the California
African American Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem (where she was also Artist-in-Residence),
Brooklyn Museum and the Guggenheim. More...
Reginald Dwayne Betts is an American poet, memoirist, and teacher. Betts work in public defense,
advocacy, and his own experiences as a teenager in maximum security prisons uniquely position
him to speak on topics ranging from mass incarceration to contemporary poetry and the
intersection of literature and advocacy. Betts often gives talks about his own experience,
detailing his journey from incarceration to Yale Law School and the role perseverance and
literature played in his success. More...
Sanford Biggers' work is an interplay of narrative, perspective and history that speaks to
current social, political and economic happenings and the contexts that bore them. His diverse
practice positions him as a collaborator with the past through explorations of often overlooked
cultural and political narratives from American history. Biggers has exhibited work in
galleries including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate Modern, London, and the Whitney
Museum of American Art, New York. More...
Sonya Clark draws from the legacy of crafted objects as a means to honor her lineage and expand
notions of both American-ness and art. She uses materials as wide ranging as textiles, hair,
beads, combs, and sound to address issues of nationhood, identity, and racial constructs.
Clark's work is exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, and she is the recipient of
several awards including an Anonymous Was a Woman Award, and a Smithsonian Artist Research
Sharon Daniel is a digital media artist who creates interactive documentary artworks addressing
issues of social, racial and environmental injustice, with a particular focus on mass
incarceration and the criminal justice system. Daniel builds online archives and interfaces,
making the stories of marginalized communities available across, social, cultural and economic
boundaries.Her work has been exhibited internationally in museums and festivals such as WRO
media art biennial 2011 (Poland), Artefact 2010 (Belgium), and Transmediale 08 (Germany). More...
Maria Gaspar is an interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses issues of spatial justice in
order to amplify, mobilize, or divert structures of power through individual and collective
gestures. Through installation, sculpture, sound, and performance, Gaspar's practice interacts
with historically marginalized sites and spans multiple formats, scales, and durations to
produce liberatory actions. Gaspar's projects have been supported by the Art for Justice Fund,
the Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship and the Creative Capital Award. More...
Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman are Academy Award nominated, Emmy award winning filmmakers
who collaborate on art, documentary film and new media projects that look at the ways power
structures and politics impact everyday lives. Among many other awards, their animated short
documentary Last Day of Freedom was awarded a Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust
Award, a Northern California Emmy, won Best Short at the International Documentary (IDA) Awards.
They are currently residents at SFFilmHouse. More...
Ashley Hunt uses images, objects, maps, writing and performance to engage social ideas and
actions. He approaches art and activism as complimentary spheres of practice — drawing
ideas and aesthetics of social movements, cultural theory and art alike. Hunt has exhibited work
in galleries internationally and correctional institutions, such as the 2012 Made in L.A.
Biennial of the Hammer Museum, the Tate Modern in London and the Putnamville Correctional
Institution in Indiana. More...
Titus Kaphar is an artist whose paintings, sculptures, and installations examine the history of
representation. His practice seeks to dislodge history from its status as the "past" in order to
unearth its contemporary relevance. Kaphar is a distinguished recipient of numerous prizes and
awards including a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2018 Art for Justice Fund grant, a 2016 Robert
R. Rauschenberg Artist as Activist grant, and a 2015 Creative Capital grant. More...
Deana Lawson uses photography to examine the body's ability to channel personal and social
histories, addressing themes of familial legacy, community, romance, and religious spiritual
aesthetics. Her practice borrows from simultaneous visual traditions ranging from photographic
and figurative portraiture, social documentary aesthetics, and vernacular family album
photographs. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art,
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Art Institute of Chicago Museum. More...
Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick have been documenting Louisiana and its people for over 25
years. Their collaborative practice focuses on the social and cultural history of New Orleans
and a vanishing Louisiana: the last of the sugar cane workers, the dockworkers, the sweet potato
harvesters, and the displacement of African Americans after Katrina. Their work has been shown
widely, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York, Louisiana State Museum, and The Peace Museum,
Prison Renaissance was founded by Emile DeWeaver, Rahsaan Thomas and Juan Meza in 2017 to
connect incarcerated people to the wider community. They are dedicated to using art and
community to create a culture of transformation to end cycles of incarceration and to create
more proximity between the general public and incarcerated people. Co-founder Emile DeWeaver is
interested in internalized systems of oppression and how they prevent us from building and
maintaining effect models of justice. More...
Sherrill Roland is an interdisciplinary artist and the founder of The Jumpsuit Project. His
Socially Engaged Art project has been presented at Open Engagement Chicago, Oakland City Hall
and the Michigan School of Law. Recent exhibitions include CAM Houston, LACE: Los Angeles and
Studio Museum of Harlem. He was recently an Artist-In-Residence at the McColl Center of Art +
Innovation in Charlotte, NC and a Rights of Return USA Fellow. More...
Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. In 1989, the entire US
Senate denounced and outlawed his artwork and President Bush declared it "disgraceful"
because of its use of the American flag. His work has been exhibited/performed at the Whitney
Museum, MoMA/PS1, BAM Fisher and galleries and street corners across the country. More...
jackie sumell is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice speaks to both traditional artist
communities and those historically marginalized by structural racism. Her work has been
successfully anchored at the intersection of activism, education, mindfulness practices and art
for nearly two decades. summell has exhibited extensively throughout the world and her
collaborative work with Herman Wallace is the subject of the Emmy Award Winning documentary
Herman's House, screened to a national audience on PBS in 2013. More...
Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective,
identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. Thomas’ multidisciplinary practice incorporates
sculpture, photography, mixed media, installation, and video. His work has been exhibited
throughout the United States and abroad including the International Center of Photography, New
York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; Hong Kong Arts
Kong, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands. More...
Through use of objects and cultural signifiers Patrice Washington explores how identity can be
manipulated and shaped to explore alternative understandings. Working primarily in sculpture and
ceramics, her work investigates structures of race, class, and gender as they relate to the
construction of identity and experience. She has shown in exhibitions across the United States,
including the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn, The Museum of
Contemporary Art, Denver, and the Zeitgeist, Nashville. More...
Levester Williams' practice is rooted in aesthetic and critical inquiries into modes of
existence. Questions arising from the politics and poetics of identity, space/place, boundary,
and the body congeal into forms of sculptures, installations, sound, animations, drawings, and
videos. Williams' work mediates relationships between objects and beings, language and the
world. His works have been exhibited throughout the United States and in the Museum of African
Design, Johannesburg, South Africa. More...