February 9 – March 25, 2023
TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image presents the work of visual artists Steph Foster, Kris Graves, and Sheldon Omar-Abba. The exhibition explores different facets of the Black experience through photography and video, examining structural systems of power and collective encounters within the community.
Steph Foster is an interdisciplinary artist specializing in photography with interests in video, installation, music, digital fabrication, sculpture, and performance. His most recent video project is a compilation of stories about mass incarceration and familial reconciliation in urban communities. The goal is to frame these personal narratives within the larger contexts of racism, slavery, surveillance, and capitalism, as opposed to the usual imagery of black bodies in orange jumpsuits. It is important to Foster that his work tells the stories of those who are imprisoned to reaffirm their humanity.
Kris Graves creates artwork that deals with societal problems and aims to use art as a means to inform people about cultural issues. Integrating a mix of conceptual and documentary practices, Graves photographs the subtleties of societal power and its impact on the built environment. He explores how capitalism and power have shaped countries, and how these systems can be seen and experienced in everyday life. Graves also works to elevate the representation of people of color in the fine art canon and create opportunities for conversation about race, representation, and urban life. He photographs to preserve memory.
Sheldon Omar-Abba’s work straddles the line between practicing artist and creative facilitator. His projects focus on documentation and collective storytelling, often blending collaborations between artists, institutions, and communities. He currently uses film photography as an access point for relationship-building and discussions about identity, race, and social justice. Extension or Communication is an ongoing initiative he started with Ricky Yanas and Grimaldi Baez that investigates the role of artists and individuals as researchers and agents of change within their communities.