Talking Shop: Art + Activism by The Contemporary

10.03.2016 / 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Walters Art Museum, 600 N Charles Street. Baltimore, United States.

Art + Activism, moderated by Board Trustee Lionel Foster, will pair artist Tania Bruguera, based in New York, New Haven, and Havana, and Baltimore-based producer and author Eddie Conway.

The panel will explore the ways in which activism manifests through the art, cultural, and political work of two prolific individuals.

Talking Shop, our 2015 Speaker Series, partners acclaimed artists and professionals from various disciplines to discuss the nexus of art, science, medicine, technology, politics, and more. Where are the intersections of these practices? How can society utilize these disciplines in collaboration as catalysts for creative thinking? Each evening will begin with short presentations by the invited participants which will set context for moderated group discussion. Talking Shop is made possible with generous support from The Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation. This series is free and open to the public. Each panel will begin promptly at 7pm, doors close at 6:45pm.

Tania Bruguera is one of the leading political and performance artists of her generation. Bruguera researches ways in which Art can be applied to the everyday political life; focusing on the transformation of social affect into political effectiveness. Her long-term projects have been intensive interventions on the institutional structure of collective memory, education and politics.

Recognized as one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, shortlisted for the #Index100 Freedom of Expression Award 2016, she is a 2015 Herb Alpert Award winner, a Hugo Boss Prize finalist, a Yale World Fellow and is the first artist-in-residence in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). In 2013 she was part of the team creating the first document on artistic freedom and cultural rights with the United Nation’s Human Rights Council. Her survey show, the inaugural Neuberger Prize, in 2010 was selected best show at a University Gallery by AICA. Her work was exhibited at Documenta 11, Venice Biennale, Tate Modern, Guggenheim and Van Abbemuseum among others. Bruguera continues working on the political rights of migrants through her long-term project Immigrant Movement International and in May 2015 opened the Hannah Arendt International Institute for Artivism, in Havana. She lives and works in New York, New Haven and Havana.

Eddie Conway is a former member of the Black Panther Party Baltimore chapter. Wrongfully convicted of murder in 1970, he served nearly forty four years in the Maryland prison system. During his incarceration, he played a leading role in a variety of prisoner support initiatives including, a Prisoner’s Labor Union, a ACLU’s class action lawsuit that reduced the prison population by 700 beds, he implemented dozens of educational programs that connected prisoners with the outside communities and Co-founded the AFSC- Friend of a Friend program, a mentoring project that helps prisoners survive incarceration.

Conway earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Coppin State University and attended graduate studies at California State University-Dominguez Hills. While in prison, Conway authored two books, The Greatest Threat, The Black Panther Party and COINTELPRO (iAMWE 2009) and Marshall Law, The Life and Times of a Baltimore Black Panther (AK Press, 2011). He has been a guest lecturer at universities and colleges across the nation, speaking on the prison industrial complex, the history of the Black Panther Party, and community organizing. In addition, he co-founded the Coalition of Friends, which works in the tradition of the survival programs developed by the Black Panther Party to build stronger communities. Since his release in 2014, Conway has appeared on television and radio programs in the US and South America, and produced television programs for The Real News Network, where he works as an executive producer.
In 2014, Amy Goodman remarked on Democracy Now: “After 44 years behind bars, you would think he would never want to set foot in a prison again. But that is not Eddie Conway. For his future, he says: “I’m going to continue to work with the Friend of a Friend organization. I think we’ve saved a lot of lives. I think we can save a lot more.”

moderated by

Lionel Foster is writer, editor, and the communications manager for the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute. An alumnus of Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars program (B.A.), he earned master’s degrees in Social Policy and Planning and Regional and Urban Planning Studies (London School of Economics) as well as Creative and Life Writing (Goldsmiths College, University of London) during his tenure as a British Marshall Scholar. Foster’s writing has appeared in Baltimore City Paper, The Baltimore Sun, The Chicago Tribune, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Grist, The Los Angeles Times, and other publications. For his work in urban communities he was named a Maryland Daily Record VIP.