Art and Activism
After a summer of racial unrest, following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of white police officers, and countless other Black lives lost, artists responded by creating public works of art in and around the city of Providence; from murals on storefront plywood to prints handed out at protests. Art as cultural production is an effective conduit for activism; to increase social awareness and create change. Join a panel of artists, AGONZA, Kendel Joseph, and Nafis White facilitated by museum educator Kajette Solomon.
This program is presented in collaboration with The Avenue Concept.
Free. Registration required.
Known by her artist name, AGONZA was born in Providence, Rhode Island and raised in the Manton projects. She lived in the Dominican Republic for eight of her teen years in a nun adoption care facility with dirt streets, farms and happy people living in small rusty houses of corrugated metal. AGONZA believes “as human beings we live and experience things in order to teach others what we have understood and learned from life. When I paint, I like to immerse myself and live in them as if they were real.” Her work teaches and sends messages. AGONZA believes art is a communicative story without sentences. Every art piece she’s created has a purpose. Her work is displayed in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Kendal Joseph is a self taught artist born in 1991 and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. He specializes in a highly stylized version of expressionist realism inspired by renaissance style portraiture, and expressionism found in contemporary arts such as street art and graffiti of today. His portraits are built up over several layers, masterfully creating the illusion of 3-D depth and light, on two dimensional surfaces. He is known for his skills with spray paint, creating large scale realism paintings without stencils, only his imagination.
Nafis White is an interdisciplinary, multihyphenate artist whose recent body of works are created from objects commonly found in beauty supply stores, industrial sites and the seemingly limitless horizons of our global and political landscapes. Through weaving, hairdressing, sculpture and installation, White centers the uncanny audacity of self-affirmation and love by means of repetition as a form of change. She uses concept as anchor and medium as message in her work moving within conceptual and durational realms. Community engagement, beauty and the political root deep in White’s work. Her work is in the permanent collections of the RISD Museum and University of New Mexico Art Museum. White holds MFA and BFA degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design and is based in Providence, Rhode Island.
Kajette Solomon is the Museum SEI Program Specialist at the RISD Museum and recently accepted a board position as the New England Regional Director of the American Association of Museum Volunteers. Kajette also made her alma mater’s list of ‘40 Under 40’ alumni Class of 2020. She holds a BA in Art History from Arcadia University and MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism from the State University of New York at Purchase College.
The Avenue Concept (TAC) is a Providence-based nonprofit that makes public art happen. Founded in Providence, RI in 2012, The Avenue Concept is the state’s leading public art program. Since then it has installed or exhibited more than 150 works of public art, and invested $1.1 million in both artwork and infrastructure
Photograph courtesy The Avenue Concept