Description - Free as they want to be: Artists Committed to Memory by Deborah Willis

'Free as they want to be': Artists Committed to Memory is the companion publication to the FotoFocus biennial exhibition that is scheduled for Fall 2022 and will run at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center until Spring 2023. This project considers the historic and contemporary role that photography and film have played in remembering legacies of slavery and its aftermath while examining the social lives of Black Americans within various places including the land, at home, in photographic albums, at historic sites, and in public memory.

This exhibition acknowledges artists' constant involvement with efforts to explore the possibilities of freedom and their relationship to it. Their quest to be 'as free as they want to be' is envisioned in the subject matter they explore as well as in their persistent drive to innovate aesthetic practices in photographic media. The publication presents some 20 artists working in photography, video, silkscreen, projection, and mixed media installation.

Free as they want to be is inspired by the words of James Baldwin and the timely theme of FotoFocus, World Record, as well as events of late that have shaped the world as we know it. The artists selected for this publication are on the frontlines, creating, documenting, and writing. The works they have conceived reflect defining moments in the struggle for racial justice and equality.

Free as they want to be presents an occasion to reflect upon the past, to mark significant defining moments - both triumphs and tragedies - that characterize a people and their experiences in the present - and to propose future possibilities. The artists offer images that advance a different sense of empowerment. Their images thus play an integral part in casting resilient narratives as they commemorate endurance, longevity, and accomplishment.

The timing of a publication like this could not be more urgent given the human toll of the pandemic, widening economic disparities, the threat of war, voting rights, global migration crises, and quotidian violence.

Proposed Artists: Terry Adkins; Radcliffe Bailey; J.P. Ball Studio; Sadie Barnett; Dawoud Bey; Sheila Pree Bright; Bisa Butler; Omar Victor Diop; Nona Faustine; Adama Delphine Fawundu; Daesha Devon Harris; Isaac Julien; Cathy Opie; Hank Willis Thomas; Lava Thomas; Carrie Mae Weems; Wendel White; William Earle Williams; anonymous tintype photographer - photo album

Buy Free as they want to be: Artists Committed to Memory by Deborah Willis from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, BooksDirect.

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