On top of the Brexit vote, there’s another pitched battle being waged in the UK right now—it’s over a commissioned statue of Mary Seacole (1805-1881), a recognition for her aid and service to the wounded during the Crimean War (1853-1856).
Martin Jennings’s Seacole sculpture is scheduled to be installed at St. Thomas Hospital in London later this month. Opponents say it doesn’t belong at that hallowed site where Florence Nightingale established a nursing school. The opponents double-down when accused of racism by the artist Jennings and other supporters of the monument: Seacole, they claim, wasn’t a nurse nor did she–the child of a free, black Jamaican woman and a white Scottish solider–identify as “black.”
This is a row of great proportions. In the interest of Critical Race Art History, my raised question is “What does diversity look like?”
The first half of the symposium will feature a conversation from 12:30 to 2 pm PST about Policing, Mass Incarceration & Racial Justice with Mychal Denzel Smith (The Nation), Rinku Sen (Colorlines), Isabel Garcia (Derechos Humanos) and Reverend Osagyefo Sekou (Fellowship of Reconciliation & King Research and Education Institute). Moderated by H. Samy Alim.
The second half of the symposium will feature a conversation from 2:30 to 4 pm PST about The Arts, Racial Justice & Cultural Equity with Favianna Rodriguez (CultureStr/ke), Jasiri X (1Hood), Jonathan Calm (Stanford Department of Art & Art History), Deborah Cullinan (Yerba Buena Center for The Arts), and Rita Gonzalez (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Moderated by Jeff Chang.
Race & Aesthetics: A British Society of Aesthetics Connections Conference ran the 19th and 20th of May, at the Leeds Art Gallery. Fourteen speakers and several dozen more participants gathered to share thoughts on any of the points of intersection between the philosophies of race and aesthetics. Topics ranged from sexual attraction to humour to Brett Bailey’s Exhibit B. In what follows, I’ll try to present short but effective summaries of each of the conference talks.