Living in Common in the Precarious South(s) Spring 2021 Program
The Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice, a trans-institutional partnership comprising Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, the Frist Art Museum, and Millions of Conversations, launched its Spring Program on April 1. The EADJ, founded by Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair and Professor of Fine Arts María Magdalena Campos-Pons, is a forum for diverse and inclusive discussion about the role of art in forging a more just and democratic future. The EADJ 2020-2021 program, “Living in Common in the Precarious South(s),” curated by Marina Fokidis, founder and director of the journal South as a State of Mind and core team member of Documenta 14, continues from the Fall.
The Spring Program consists of four unique but interrelated episodes that will take place throughout the month of April. These episodes will include three webinars that bring together artists, scholars, and activists from around the world and three artist “interventions.” These interventions, all happening locally in the Nashville community, act in thematic conversation with the webinars. Two interventions, a new sound performance by alejandro t. acierto and a concert by Vanderbilt Blair School of Music’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, will celebrate the legacy of revolutionary composer and performer Julius Eastman. The third intervention will be a largescale art installation at Fisk University by globally-renowned artist Ibrahim Mahama.
Spring speakers will include: Mary Jane Leach, Sumanth Gopinath, Molly Barth, Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Paul C. Taylor, Cecilia Alemani, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Jamaal Sheats, Diana Campbell Betancourt, Kimberly Drew, Tabita Rezaire, and Christian Nyampeta.
Remaining schedule of events
Black Notations: African American Composer Julius Eastman
April 14 at 8 p.m. CT: Artist Intervention
The Blair School of Music’s Contemporary Music Ensemble presents Eastman in a livestreamed concert. Two interpretations of Eastman’s “Stay On It,” along with Andy Akiho’s “Ligneous Five” and Roshanne Ebezady’s “Glint,” will be performed.
Public Art—As Network(s) Between Dispersed Geographies
April 9–16: Artist Intervention
Ibrahim Mahama’s large-scale installation at Fisk University Theatre
Fisk University’s Little Theatre will be covered in sewn-together jute sacks that were collected by Mahama from Ghanaian markets. Part of Mahama’s ongoing Occupation Series, this artwork reflects on histories of migration and global capitalism. Students from Vanderbilt and Fisk will participate in a communal sewing of jute sacks into larger units, which will be pieced together by professional installers to cover the Little Theatre.
April 21 at 10 a.m. CT: Webinar
The webinar will center on the intervention of Mahama at Fisk University, with Marina Fokidis, a writer and curator based in Athens, Greece, serving as moderator. Panelists Paul C. Taylor, W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt; Cecilia Alemani, director and chief curator of High Line Art and artistic director of the next Venice Biennial; Elvira Dyangani Ose, director of the Showroom Gallery in London; and Jamaal Sheats, director and curator of galleries and assistant professor of art at Fisk University, will discuss the importance of site-sensitive public art in local communities and societal changes that such works can trigger in the specific locality and beyond.
On Pigmented Futures
April 28 at 10 a.m. CT: Webinar
Marina Fokidis, a curator and writer based in Athens, Greece, will moderate a panel discussion on the future of contemporary art, artistic activism and racial justice. The other participants are Diana Campbell Betancourt, artistic director of Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh; Kimberly Drew, a curator, author and activist based in New York City; Tabita Rezaire, an artist based in Cayenne, French Guyana; and Christian Nyampeta, a Rwandan-born artist based in New York.