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Panel discussion: Angela Davis, Maria Gaspar, Tyanna Buie

Friday, September 28, 2018
Dalton Center Recital Hall at 2:00 p.m.
WMU School of Music

Join us for a panel discussion with legendary activist and academic Angela Davis and artists Maria Gaspar (Chicago, IL) and Tyanna Buie (Detroit, MI). In an intimate and wide-ranging discussion, these three women will discuss the intersection of art and activism as it pertains to the crisis of mass incarceration. Drawing on both personal experience and the socio-political narratives that underpin the prison industrial complex, this panel aims to highlight a multitude of perspectives, including such themes as isolation, the inside/outside boundary and the prison wall itself, as well as the psychological and political barriers affecting incarcerated populations and their surrounding communities, cities, and families. 

This program is presented in conjunction with the group exhibition On the Inside Out, on view at the Richmond Center for Visual Arts through October 28, 2018.  

ANGELA Y DAVIS is a political activist, scholar, author, and speaker who rose to prominence in the 1970s when, as a professor, she was targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program and charged with a crime she did not commit. Acquitted of all charges, she has continued to be an outspoken advocate for the oppressed and exploited, writing on Black liberation, prison abolition, the intersections of race, gender, and class, and international solidarity with Palestine. During the last twenty-five years, Professor Davis has lectured in all of the fifty United States, as well as in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the former Soviet Union. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and she is the author of nine books, including Angela Davis: An Autobiography; Women, Race, and Class; Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday; The Angela Y. Davis Reader; Are Prisons Obsolete?; a new edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; and The Meaning of Freedom. Today she is Distinguished Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies Departments at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1994, she received the distinguished honor of an appointment to the University of California Presidential Chair in African American and Feminist Studies.

Like many educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.

MARIA GASPAR is an interdisciplinary artist negotiating the politics of location through installation, sculpture, sound, and perform-ance. Gaspar’s work addresses issues of spatial justice in order to amplify, mobilize, or divert structures of power through individual and collective gestures. Her work spans formats anddurations, including sound performances at a military site in New Haven ("Sounds for Liberation"); long-term public art interventions at the largest jail in the country (96 Acres Project, Chicago); appropriations of museum archives ("Brown Brilliance Darkness Matter"); and audio-video works, documenting a jail located in her childhood neighborhood ("On the Border of What is Formless and Monstrous"). Gaspar has exhibited at venues including the MCA, Chicago, IL; Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY; Artspace, New Haven, CT; African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA; amongst many others. Gaspar is the recipient of an Art Matters Grant, a Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, a Creative Capital Award, a Joan Mitchell Emerging Artist Grant, and a Sor Juana Women of Achievement Award in Art and Activism from the National Museum of Mexican Art. She was recently awarded the Chamberlain Award for Social Practice at the Headlands Center for the Arts and completed a residency at Project Row Houses in 2015. Gaspar was named Chicagoan of the Year in the Arts in 2014 by art critic and historian, Lori Waxman. She is an Assistant Professor at the Art Institute of Chicago, holds an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. 

TYANNA BUIE A native of Chicago, IL, and Milwaukee, WI, Tyanna Buie earned her BA from Western Illinois University, and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Buie has attended various Artist-in-Residency programs including the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, LA; the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY; and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT. She also maintains close community connections by hosting printmaking workshops and demons-trations including “Healthy Neighborhood Initiatives” and public art projects in Milwaukee, and Madison, WI.

Buie’s extensive exhibition record in juried, group, and solo shows includes such venues as The Contemporary Invitational Print and Drawing exhibition at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Institute of Contemporary Art MECA, Portland, ME; Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, FL; The Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University; Racine Art Museum, WI; The Milwaukee Art Museum, The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; Lawrence University, Appleton, WI; the Museum of Wisconsin Art; and The Red Bull House of Art, N’NAMDI Center for Contemporary Art and Detroit Artist Market in Detroit, MI. Buie has also served as a visiting artist lecturer in Tennessee, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Arizona.  In 2012, Buie received an emerging artist Mary L. Nohl Fellowship and is the recipient of the 2015 Love of Humanity Award from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and the prestigious 2015 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant. Her work is part of the permanent collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, WI.  Buie currently lives and works in Detroit, MI where she is Assistant Professor and Section Chair of Printmaking at the College for Creative Studies. 

The panel is made possible through the Richmond Center’s close partnership with the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo College, and WMU’s Center for the Humanities.