A Wicked Commerce: The US and the Atlantic Slave Trade through the Lens of William Earle Williams

September 22, 2022−May 21, 2023

 

Philadelphia-area artist William Earle Williams (b.1950) uses his camera to expose the obscured histories of chattel slavery in the US and transform how everyday places are understood and experienced. His most recent body of work examines this history within a global context and how the development, growth, and malevolent persistence of slavery intersects within Great Britain, the US, and the British West Indies.

A Wicked Commerce presents Williams’s examination of the transatlantic slave trade in forty- three photographs, many exhibited for the first time. Featuring sites in British port cities, Caribbean islands, and the US—south and north—these pictures reveal the infrastructures that fueled the triangular trade and positioned Britain and the US as industrial powers, simultaneously creating an institution that damaged innumerable lives and continues to persist in their physical and social landscapes.

The exhibition is accompanied by a Picker Laboratory for Academic Engagement (PLAE) Space installation, presenting research into lesser known local stories of this history and additional photographs from Williams’s Underground Railroad series.

William Earle Williams is the Audrey A. and John L. Dusseau Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Fine Arts, and Curator of Photography at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. His photographs have been widely exhibited, including group and solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the George Eastman Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the National Gallery of Art, Smith College, and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. His work is represented in many public collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the National Gallery of Art. Williams has received individual artist fellowships from the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Nona Faustine: White Shoes

October 13, 2022–May 21, 2023

 

 

This exhibition presents seven large-scale photographs from Brooklyn photographer Nona Faustine’s acclaimed White Shoes series, a personal, provocative, and unflinching examination of the largely overlooked history of slavery in New York City.

Over the last decade, Faustine has traced places around New York’s five boroughs where enslaved Africans were bought and sold, lived and died, and were buried. Through self-portraiture, Faustine powerfully inserts her own body into these sites, standing in as a monument to the lives of New York’s Black and Indigenous populations and to the largely obscured and unacknowledged history of displacement and human trafficking that built the city.  

Nona Faustine is a native New Yorker, award-winning photographer, and public speaker. Her work focuses on history, identity, and representation, evoking a critical and emotional understanding of the past. Faustine's photographs have been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and have been collected by the Studio Museum of Harlem, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, and the Brooklyn Museum. In 2021 Faustine’s photographs were acquired by the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, the Rose Museum at Brandeis University, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Lumber Room in Portland, Oregon. In 2022 her work was acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her much acclaimed White Shoes series was recently published by MACK Books.

Faustine’s work has recently been included in exhibitions nationally at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Afro-Atlantic Histories exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. She is currently debuting at the Armory Show in New York with Higher Pictures Generation and internationally at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany.