A conversation with artists from Of Care and Destruction, part of the 2021 Atlanta Biennial, moderated by Jasmine Amussen. Particiapting artists include Nekisha Durrett, Saba Taj, L. Kasmiu Harris, and Shanequa Gay.

The 2021 Atlanta Biennial was conceived, organized, and presented during a year of great social and political grief, with many artists in this exhibition working with issues that connected directly or indirectly to this challenging time. This conversation gathers together four artists whose contributions to the biennial expands our understanding of what it means to engage “one’s own time” and create work in a spirit of response.

This virtual lecture will be streamed via Zoom. Register here and receive a reminder to join.

Watching via Zoom
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Zoom Conversation guide

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Jasmine Amussen

Jasmine Amussen is a writer, editor and cultural critic living in Atlanta. As editor for Burnaway, she facilitates the yearly Art Writing Incubator, a six weeklong intensive focusing on cultivating writers and critics in the South. As a writer, she has written for publications such as 032c, Art Papers, Limbo and MOMUS, as well as local and international zines. Prior to joining Burnaway, she held positions with the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, street art conference Living Walls, The City Speaks, DIY organization Murmur Media, and as occasional consultant for Creative Capital. She is a 2020 recipient of MacDowell’s Calderwood Fellowship for Journalism. Along with her younger sisters, she is proud to have her name on an ‘original students’ brick on the path at Clear Springs School in her hometown of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Nekisha Durrett

Durrett currently lives and works in Washington, DC where she creates bold and playful large scale installations and public art that aim to make the ordinary enchanting and awe inspiring while summoning subject matter that is often hidden from plain sight. She earned her BFA at The Cooper Union in New York City and MFA from The University of Michigan School of Art and Design as a Horace H. Rackham Fellow. Durrett has exhibited her work throughout the Washington, DC area to include the US Botanic Garden, West End Library, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, Flashpoint and Hillyer Art Galleries, and Arlington Arts Center. Nationally, she has exhibited at Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe AZ; Diaspora Vibe Gallery, Miami, Fl; Rush and Corridor Galleries, New York. Durrett has been named one of 40 Under 40 Washingtonians to Watch by Washingtonian Magazine, received multiple project grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and was an Artist-in-Residence at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. Durrett is currently a finalist in the National Portrait Gallery’s prestigious Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and is featured in “The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today” exhibition. Her most recent installation titled “Up ‘til Now”, a freestanding, solar powered sculpture that evokes the history of Washington, DC’s landscape and architecture, can be found in Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood. She is currently in production on numerous projects including a permanent installation on the glass- walled vestibule in the newly renovated Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in Washington and a wall mounted public sculpture in the Liberty City community of Miami, Florida in collaboration with conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas.

Saba Taj

Saba Taj is a visual artist based out of Durham, NC. Inspired by Islamic stories, sci-fi, and revolution, Taj’s work explores representation, the gaze, queerness, and the body. They employ practices including mixed-media drawing, painting, and collage, as well as sewing and performance. Through these techniques, Taj seeks to celebrate subjects who are often characterized as monstrous, highlighting their hybridity, liminality, and dignity as an embodied resistance to subjugation. Taj was the 2019-2020 post-MFA Fellow for the Documentary Diversity Project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. They are the former Executive Director of The Carrack Modern Art, Southern Constellations Fellow at Elsewhere Museum, and featured speaker at TEDxDuke in 2017. Taj received a BA in Art Education from North Carolina Central University, and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Their work has been featured in The Guardian and Huffington Post.

L. Kasmiu Harris

L. Kasimu Harris is a New Orleans-based artist whose practice deposits a number of different strategic and conceptual devices in order to push narratives. He strives to tell stories of underrepresented communities in New Orleans and beyond. Harris has shown in numerous group exhibitions across the US and two international exhibitions and has had five solo photography exhibitions.
This year, Harris was among 60 artists selected nationwide for State of the Art 2020 at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and had a solo exhibition, Vanishing Black Bars & Lounges: Photographs by L. Kasimu Harris at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center in Pittsburgh. His work was also in group exhibitions at the Ford Foundation Gallery and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. His writing and photographs were also featured in ” A Shot Before Last Call: Capturing New Orleans’s Vanishing Black Bars” that was published in The New York Times.
Harris’s feature for Edible New Orleans was selected for the book Best Food Writing 2016 and he has penned food columns for the Bitter Southerner. And his essay, The Dismantling of Southern Photography was published in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s catalog, “New Southern Photography.” Harris has images in several publications including Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style, by Shantrelle P. Lewis by Aperture.
Harris earned a BBA in Entrepreneurship from Middle Tennessee State University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Mississippi. He is on the Board of Trustees at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, as well as the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Photo Alliance and is a member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance and the Antenna Gallery Collective.
Harris was a 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock and is a 2020 Joan Mitchell Center Artist-in-Residence. He has also furthered his studies at the Fellowship for Young Journalists at the Poynter Institute and was selected for the Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers, where he studied with Jay Jennings for a week in creatively intensive workshops and manuscript critiques.
Harris was named one of 8 “Louisianians of the Year” for 2017 by Louisiana Life magazine. He has work in the permanent collections of Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, The Wedge Collection, and The Do Good Fund and others.

Shanequa Gay

Atlanta-born Shanequa Gay (b. 1977) holds an MFA from Georgia State University and BA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Gay’s accomplishments include selection for Off the Wall, a city-wide Civil Rights and Social Justice Mural initiative led by the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee (2019). Her recent exhibitions include Atlanta Biennial, Atlanta Contemporary (2021); Le Monde Bossale, Montreal, Canada, in (2021); Adorned, McColl Center for Arts and Innovation, Charlotte (2020); Holding Space for Nobility: A Memorial for Breonna Taylor, Ackland Museum, Chapel Hill North Carolina (2020); and Lit Without Sherman, Hammonds House Museum, Atlanta (2019). Gay has exhibited her work in the United States, Japan, and South Africa and will participate in the European Cultural Centre’s exhibition within the context of the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, Gay is a visiting Professor at Atlanta’s Spelman College.

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