Sanford Biggers is a Harlem-based artist whose work speaks to current social, political and economic happenings. For this Visualizing Abolition event, Biggers will be joined by visual culture theorist Leigh Raiford for a conversation about art, materiality, violence, and possibility.
Material and Memory
Sanford Biggers and Leigh Raiford
Featured Music Performance - Nicole Mitchell
February 9, 2021, 4-5:30 p.m.
Visualizing Abolition is a series of online events organized by Professor Gina Dent, Feminist Studies and Dr. Rachel Nelson, Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences. The events feature artists, activists, and scholars united by their commitment to the vital struggle for prison abolition. Originally, Visualizing Abolition was being planned as an in-person symposium. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the panels, artist talks, film screenings, and other events will instead take place online. The events accompany Barring Freedom, an exhibition of contemporary art on view at San José Museum of Art October 30, 2020-June, 2021. To accompany the exhibition, Solitary Garden, a public art project about mass incarceration and solitary confinement is on view at UC Santa Cruz.
Sanford Biggers’ work is an interplay of narrative, perspective and history that speaks to current social, political and economic happenings and the contexts that bore them. His diverse practice positions him as a collaborator with the past through explorations of often overlooked cultural and political narratives from American history. Biggers’ has exhibited work in galleries including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate Modern, London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Leigh Raiford is Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, where she teaches and researches about race, gender, justice and visuality. She also serves as affiliate faculty in the Program in American Studies, and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. Raiford received her PhD from Yale University’s joint program in African American Studies and American Studies in 2003. Raiford is the author of Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle (University of North Carolina Press, 2011), which was a finalist for the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Best Book Prize and her work has appeared in numerous academic journals, including American Quarterly, Small Axe, Qui Parle, History and Theory, English Language Notes and NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art; as well as popular venues including Artforum, Aperture, Ms. Magazine, the Atlantic and Al-Jazeera.
Visualizing Abolition is organized by UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences in collaboration with San José Museum of Art and Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery. The series has been generously funded by the Nion McEvoy Family Trust, Ford Foundation, Future Justice Fund, Wanda Kownacki, Peter Coha, James L. Gunderson, Rowland and Pat Rebele, Porter College, UCSC Foundation, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.
Partners include: Howard University School of Law, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, Jessica Silverman Gallery, Indexical, The Humanities Institute, University Library, University Relations, Institute for Social Transformation, Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Porter College, the Center for Cultural Studies, the Center for Creative Ecologies, and Media and Society, Kresge College.