"Our interest in struggle and revolution and change…"
Alabama, memory, politics and the first Black Panther Party: an evening of dialogue between Jeremiah Day and Dr. Hasan Jeffries
Special Guest: Huib Haye van der Werf
Moderation: Kerstin Niemann and Charles Esche
US born artist Jeremiah Day often deals with stories and sites of memory and resistance in his work. As one of the invited artists in residence of Heartland he travelled to Alabama, exploring the largely ignored legacy of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO), a precursor of the Black Panther Party. He is involved in the recuperation of the LCFO Freedom House and in 2009 he plans to build his first public memorial to the LCFO organization, on land deeded to the project by a local businessman.
One of the critical first steps of Day's project was establishing a relationship with Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, a historian who has written the only serious study of the Lowndes movement. Images of Jeffries as well as a transcript of one of their dialogues are included in the Heartland exhibition.
As part of the Heartland exhibition's ongoing programme dealing with this hinter landscape of the USA, the Van Abbemuseum is pleased to invite Jeremiah Day and Hasan Jeffries to continue their dialogue in person for a unique evening of presentation and discussion. Dealing with the legacy of the Lowndes movement as a shared object of investigation for an artist and a historian, the talk will broaden into a general investigation of the intersection between civil rights, freedom struggles, history, art and story-telling. Day will also present design ideas for the future memorial to be built in Alabama.
Charles Esche (director, Van Abbemuseum) and Kerstin Niemann (research curator, Van Abbemuseum), co-curators of Heartland will join the pair to link these dialogues back to the problems and possibilities of engaging such subject matter with contemporary art and invite Huib Haye van der Werf (curator at NAI, Rotterdam) to join the discussion.
Jeremiah Day graduated from the University of California Los Angeles, and was a participant at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam from 2003-4. Recent exhibitions include "The Fall of the Twelve Acres Museum" at Arcade Fine Arts in London and Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam, and his work was presented last summer at Manifesta 7 in Trentino, Italy.
Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries is assistant professor at The Ohio State University the Department of History and in the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. His research focuses on the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. His forthcoming book with New York University Press entitled Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama's Black Belt tells the remarkable story of the local black activists and SNCC organizers who ushered in the Black Power era by transforming rural Lowndes County, Alabama from a citadel of violent white supremacy into the centre of southern black militancy.
Huib Haye van der Werf works since 2008 as curator for the Dutch Architecture Institute/ Nederlands Architectuurinstituut (NAi) in Rotterdam. From 2005 until 2008 he was advisor of contemporary art for the Atelier Rijksbouwmeester. Since 2002 he has worked on several exhibitions, the most recent are Stroom Den Haag (with Jill Magid) and the International Triennial in Appeldoorn (for Fonds BkvB).