Resistance for Freedom, hosted in collaboration with the Hamilton Landmark Galleries and the National Conference of Artists, and was curated by Kay Hickman. Resistance for Freedom features the works of Christopher Cook, Jeremy Dennis, Francely Flores, and Lawrence Sumulong.
Exhibition on View: October 20, 2022 – January 14, 2023, at the Hamilton Landmark Galleries, 467 W 144th St, New York, NY 1003, by appointment only.
Harlem Legacies & Artist Communities - A Panel Discussion
About the Exhibition
Resistance for Freedom, hosted in collaboration with the Hamilton Landmark Galleries and the National Conference of Artists, and curated by Kay Hickman. Resistance for Freedom features the works of Chris Cook, Jeremy Dennis, Francely Flores, and Lawrence Sumulong. Exhibition on view October 20, 2022 – January 14, 2023, at the Hamilton Landmark Galleries, 467 W 144th St, New York, NY 1003, by appointment only.
Activism has played a crucial role in fighting for justice and challenging governments, and other oppressive systems to create social change. Protest imagery today poses as tableaux vivant and has normalized protests and public resistance as a way of community outreach. In this exhibition, we broaden the conversation and see that the act of simply existing can be a form of activism while honoring the images made during public actions, protests and other forms of active resistance.
Chris Cook documents the Black Lives Matter Movement in the 2020 uprisings advocating for Black lives. The protests represented essential action citizens felt against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against Black people. In Cook’s work, you get an inside glimpse of what it was like on the frontlines of the 2020 uprisings and you get a sense of unity amongst the protesters.
Jeremy Dennis’ series Rise, reflects the historical legacy of the Pequot War and the fear of indigenous people in New England and later throughout the United States. The Pequot War: A war that took place between 1636 and 1638 between the Pequot tribe and an alliance of the colonists. The fear Dennis mentions comes from the acknowledgment of their “indigenous peoples” continued presence, not as an extinct people, but as sovereign nations who have witnessed and survived four-hundred years of colonization. Dennis plays with recognizable zombie iconography. ‘Rise’ highlights parallels between the apocalyptic rising undead and popular misinformation of indigenous people.
Francely Flores in the series, Justicia, Dignidad, y Honor Para Los Héroes Obreros documents delivery workers in New York City who have united within the past two years to demand labor protections, rights and justice for all the lives lost while on the job. In 2020 Under the New York State PAUSE executive order, non-essential businesses statewide received orders to close in-person functions. Flores uses her camera as a tool to bring awareness to some important issues. Here she is exposing the grueling working conditions and many dangers faced by delivery workers.
Lawrence Sumulong has been documenting the Marshallese diaspora and its people (Bikinians) in Springdale, Arkansas since 2016, which has become the largest community of Marshallese people in the United States. There are currently only 29 remaining Bikinians out of the original 167 who were forced to leave their homeland in 1946 by the US military. Sumulong’s work shows the struggles and daily lives of both the Bikiniann and general Marshallese population and offers a complicated look into what it means to be assimilated into, excluded from and exploited by American Society.
Resistance for Freedom highlights the efforts of artists of color who have been working within their communities to push back against injustice. While building networks, communities, and platforms, these artists continue the discourse, and prioritize holding space for folks to express and defend their right to exist.
About the Artists
Christopher Cook is a New York-based artist, born and raised in Brooklyn. Cook has exhibited in galleries throughout New York State, from the Lower East Side to upstate Auburn. He was a 2020 AIM Fellow at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. In 2021 Valentine Museum of Art acquired 160 of his Black Lives Matter photographs. In February 2021, Cook’s solo exhibition at Brooklyn’s Welancora Gallery, “Am I Next?”. It showcased his documentation of the Black Lives Matter movement (May–September 2020). He is currently showing an outside art exhibition in Photoville this year. It is a group exhibition curated by Jamel Shabazz named The Brooklyn Connection.
Jeremy Dennis (b. 1990) is a contemporary fine art photographer and a tribal member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton, NY. In his work, he explores indigenous identity, culture, and assimilation. Dennis was one of 10 recipients of a 2016 Dreamstarter Grant from the national non-profit organization Running Strong for American Indian Youth. He was awarded $10,000 to pursue his project, On This Site, which uses photography and an interactive online map to showcase culturally significant Native American sites on Long Island, a topic of special meaning for Dennis, who was raised on the Shinnecock Nation Reservation. Dennis holds an MFA from Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, and a BA in Studio Art from Stony Brook University, NY. He currently lives and works in Southampton, New York on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation.
Francely Flores is a Xicana born in occupied Karankawa land (Houston, Texas) and raised in occupied Lenape land (the Bronx, New York). She is an independent photo and video journalist who focuses on documenting the stories of Indigenous peoples, immigrants, and Bronx residents. She began documenting protests during the summer of 2020. To Francely this was a way that she could be involved in engaging with individuals who also felt the failure of various social structures. She is a contributor to working class heroes radio featured on WBAI, amplifying these stories. Currently, she is studying at Baruch College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs with a minor in Journalism.
Lawrence Sumulong (b. 1987) is a Filipino-American photographer (with Casiguran Dumagat Agta Heritage) and a new member of Indigenous Photograph based in Brooklyn, New York. He creates work that studies both his inculcation into and resistance against various colonial systems of power. Sumulong deals mostly with personal documentary pieces–highlighting the tension between his two identities and studying how historical events shape both society and the self.
About the Curator
Kay Hickman is a New York City based documentary photographer and visual artist. With an inquisitive eye, she offers a unique and empathetic perspective into the everyday lives of the people she photographs. Her work largely focuses on documenting the human experience as it relates to identity, human rights and health issues. Hickman’s work has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Vogue, Financial Times, Ms. Magazine, and Photographic Journal: MFON Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. Hickman also Joined the Everyday Project’s Advisory Board where she works on various initiatives.
About the Venue + Comunity Partner
ABOUT THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ARTISTS National Conference of Artists (NCA) is the oldest operating African American arts organization in the United States founded in 1959. The National Conference of Artists New York, Inc. was formed in 1973. NCA’s mission is to preserve, promote, develop, and mentor each artist while nurturing their creative forces and expressions as they navigate through the mainstream American art world at large. For more information, please visit: www.ncanewyorkart.com
About Hamilton Landmark Galleries Originally conceived as an artist cooperative, Hamilton Landmark Galleries opened its doors in the autumn of 1997, its mission; dedicated to the presentation of fine art, the development of contemporary artists, and the documentation of fine art collections.
The Galleries has presented the work of more than seventy contemporary artists from the Americas, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Europe; painters, ceramists, sculptors, printmakers, muralists, graffiti and mixed media artists, and photographers. Periodically, HLG opens its doors for the enjoyment of other fine arts with readings from poets and playwrights and live musical concerts. The Galleries’ attraction to patrons is the positive spiritual aura that exudes from its state of the art viewing environment. HLG is situated in a landmark building erected in 1886 among a group of other buildings completed between 1886 and 1890. It represents one of the oldest structures in the district, a picturesque block in the village of Harlem’s Hamilton Heights historic district.
The future of Hamilton Landmark Galleries is to expand its cultural outreach to the community by hosting artists-in-residence, holding master classes, and building a permanent collection.
Kim Hamilton, Owner Kim Hamilton is Director of Hamilton Landmark Galleries, a contemporary art gallery operating in Harlem since 1997. As a resident of Harlem for more than 40 years, she has witnessed the constriction of Harlem’s environmental, economic and cultural landscape and its resurgence as an iconic and representational New York neighborhood. She believes that all of New York’s inner city neighborhoods reflect one another, and she strives to be an example of creativity and health through social entrepreneurship during the last 10 years partnering with NOMAA and other institutions to elevate awareness of the “consciousness” of contemporary artists.
A self-taught visual artist and urban farmer, Ms. Hamilton was raised to be an activist, picketing against the centralization and segregation of New York Public Schools in 1962 as a second grader with her mom and siblings. In 1992 she went on to help write Procurement Policy under New York’s first Black Mayor, David Dinkins, secured work for dozens of entrepreneurs and small businesses through the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp programs, Medgar Evers College partnership with Bedford Stuyvesant Community Trust, and Bronx Council on the Arts Development Corp’s Art Handlers’ Training and African Burial Ground Projects. ”
Harlem Legacies & Artist Communities - A Panel Discussion
As part of En Foco’s Resistance for Freedom exhibition at Hamilton Landmark, En Foco, Hamilton Landmark Galleries, the National Conference of Artists, and Children’s Art Carnival hosted the panel discussion, Harlem Legacies & Artist Communities, moderated by En Foco’s Managing Director Danny R. Peralta on November 5, 2022.
The Harlem Legacies panelists were photographers: Salimah Ali, Lenore Browne, George Malave, and Ed Sherman, who Peralta described as “illustrious artists” and “luminaries.” The discussion, Peralta said, was “historically and culturally” significant because the photographers have an important role in the larger narrative of resistance work in the arts and community. The theme of the importance of collaboration to create opportunities and build supportive networks for diverse artists was prevalent among the panelists.
Salimah Ali spoke on the value of promoting positive imagery and diversity in photography and how organizations like Kamoinge, Inc. serve as a valuable resource in highlighting the art of African American photographers. Lenore Browne reflected on the value of advocating for the arts and keeping resources at home such as when she lobbied for darkroom equipment to be donated to the Hamilton Heights Darkroom. Ed Sherman, who describes himself as a photographer and printer, spoke on the importance of printing, the impact of organizations such as the National Conference of Artists, and the value of networking for artists to get opportunities and jobs.
About the Panelists
Salimah Ali’s work has been included in numerous galleries, museum exhibitions, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Tweed Gallery, Soho Photo Gallery, Jamaica Arts Center for Arts and Learning, The Schimmel Center for the Arts, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Permanent Collection), Aperture Gallery, and Kenkeleba House. She is the winner of the first Shahin Shahablou Photography award in London. Since 2005 Ali has been a member of Kamoinge, Inc., the historic collective of African American photographers established in 1963. Salimah Ali’s work has been widely published, including in Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Ms. Magazine, The New York Times, Newsday, USA Today, The Washington Post, and Ebony.com “Legendary Eye”. Works by Ali are included in numerous books, including Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers, The Encyclopedia of Black Women in America, Committed to The Image: Contemporary Black Photographers, Reflections in Black: A history of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, The Face of Our Past: Images of Black Women from Colonial America to the Present, Timeless and MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora.
Lenore Browne is a native New Yorker and photographer. As a resident of Harlem, she has continued to document the neighborhood as it evolves. Her photographs, printed in the darkroom, have been exhibited in solo and group shows in New York and Harlem: Columbia University, Barrie Russe medical centers, City College of New York, Symphony Space, Pen and Brush, New York Public Library, Lenox Social, Rio Gallery II, and most recently, in the Northern Manhattan Art Stroll. Browne is one of the founding photographers of the Hamilton Heights Darkroom and a neighbor to the Children’s Art Carnival, the space within which it is located. She enjoys teaching children and young adults of all ages and is thrilled with their discovery of individual artistic vision and expression developed while learning photography. From photograms, pinhole cameras and 35mm film cameras, our students will learn much about themselves and their environment.
George Malave studied at the Germain School of Photography, and Educational Alliance Photo-workshop under Dr. Al Freed and earned a degree in Photography from SUNY. He has taught photography and lectured at various educational institutions. Malave was awarded a Creative Artist Public Service Fellowship to study Street Life in New York and a National Endowment for the Art Survey Grant to photograph the New York Financial District. His photographic body of works include essays on: Human Development/ Motherhood, Aging, The Myrtle & Third Avenue El transit systems, Metropolis, NY Street Life, World Trade Center: Before, During & After 9/11, World Travel, Artist’s Portraits, Humans in Nature, Crowds, Plant Life and Experimental Projects. Malave’s works have been exhibited at the International Center of Photography, Museum of the City of New York, Museo de Puerto Rico, Danforth Museum, Snite Museum, El Paso Museum, Bronx Museum, Camera Work Gallery, New York Historical Society, Wave Hill Center for Environmental Studies, Neikrug Gallery, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Institute of Puerto Rico, BRIC House, and a series of photographs are in the collection of the New York Public Library.
Ed Sherman has been photographing since he was 14 years old. Sherman has built his photographic foundation through interaction and collaboration with his many artists & photography friends and colleagues. His groundwork includes undergraduate fine arts studies at Brooklyn College, photographic course studies at the New School for Social Research, under Lisette Model, and over 40 years of photographic activity. He is a former United States Marine Corps photographer. The years Sherman spent working as a photographic color lab technician have keenly focused his visualization and technical skills. In 1980, Sherman completed an internship in broadcast journalism. He then worked as a videographer and editor for NBC News affiliate, WNYT, in Albany, New York. The experience of videotaping and editing a broad spectrum of news and sporting events has helped shape Sherman’s visual storytelling ability
This exhibition is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, Ford Foundation, The Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Joy of Giving Something, Inc., and private contributions. Member of the Urban Arts Cooperative.