Abolition Then and Now: Robin D. G. Kelley and Isaac Julien


December 1, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Join historian Robin D. G Kelley and artist Isaac Julien for an online conversation about the anti-slavery movements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and current abolitionist uprisings against racist police brutality and the prison industrial complex. The conversation is informed by “Lessons of the Hour-Frederick Douglass” (2019), Julien’s immersive, ten-screen film installation about the famed abolitionist currently on view at McEvoy Arts. The conversation takes place online via Zoom on Wednesday, December 1, 2020 at 12pm PST. Attendance is free with registration.

With excerpts of his speeches and dramatizations of his private and public milieus, ‘Lessons’ offers a contemplative, poetic journey into Douglass’ zeitgeist and a forceful suggestion that the lessons of the abolitionist’s hour have yet to be learned. The installation is joined by Julien’s tintype portraits and mise-en-scenes photographs of the film’s subjects as well as “When Living is a Protest,” an exhibition of modern and contemporary photography from the McEvoy Family Collection curated by Mark Nash and “New Labor Movements” a daily resonant film program curated by Leila Weefur that explores contemporary visions of America and concepts of transnational Blackness. The exhibitions are on view through March 13, 2021. Admission is free.

Isaac Julien’s pioneering artistic practice incorporates the moving image, photography, and installation to create open-ended narratives through physical and sensorial immersion. Robin D. G. Kelley is a Professor in the Department of African American Studies at UCLA. His research explores the history of social movements in the U.S., the African Diaspora, and Africa; black intellectuals; music; visual culture; contemporary urban studies; historiography; poverty studies; and ethnography. This event is co-presented with the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz as part of UC Santa Cruz’s ‘Visualizing Abolition’ series.



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