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Opening Discussion for Brown II

Image of Tomashi Jackson in her studio
Tomashi Jackson in her studio at The Watermill Center, June 2021. Photo: Copyright Jessica Dalene, courtesy of The Watermill Center

The artist Tomashi Jackson and Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of Harvard Radcliffe Institute, will engage in a wide-ranging conversation to mark the opening of Jackson’s new Radcliffe exhibition, Brown II.  

In Brown II and the exhibition’s accompanying publication, Jackson explores the challenges of implementing the landmark 1954 US Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Educationof Topeka. Her work centers on the subsequent 1955 case (referred to as Brown II), which stated that the effort to desegregate schools in the United States was to be undertaken with “all deliberate speed.” Jackson and Brown-Nagin will consider the Brown II decision, its impact on individual and institutions, and the work that continues today. They will also discuss Jackson’s research in Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America and the collaborative conceptual and artistic processes that Jackson pursued in developing the exhibition.

Jackson combines a vibrant practice in painting and printmaking with archival research in the histories of law, urbanism, and social justice. Brown II offers a series of vibrant portraits of the activists Ruth Batson and Pauli Murray, whose courageous efforts were central to the advancement of Black freedom and civil rights. Jackson drew on source material from the collections of the Schlesinger Library, which detail Batson’s and Murray’s contributions to the continuing struggle for Black lives. 

This program is presented as part of the Presidential Initiative on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery, a University-wide effort housed at Harvard Radcliffe Institute, in collaboration with the Royall House and Slave Quarters.

Creating Art from Radcliffe Archives (Harvard Gazette, 9/27/21)

Event Video

Image of Tomashi Jackson in her studio


Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and chair of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery

Tomashi Jackson, artist Jackson, born in 1980 in Houston, Texas, lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in New York City. She has had solo museum exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Zuckerman Museum of Art, and another solo exhibition—The Land Claim at the Parrish Art Museum—is on view through November 7, 2021. Her work is in the group show Off the Record at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum through September 27, 2021, and was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial and other group shows at the Contemporary Art Center, in New Orleans; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; MASS MoCA; and the Moody Center for the Arts. Among many other upcoming exhibitions, in 2022 her work will be included in Working Thought: Art, Labor, and the American Economy at the Carnegie Museum of Art and in What is Left Unspoken,Love at the High Museum of Art.

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