The Fleming Museum of Art is pleased to announce the exhibition Be Strong and Do Not Betray Your Soul: Selections from the Light Work Collection, originally organized by Light Work, a nonprofit organization in Syracuse, New York, that provides direct support to artists working in the media of photography and digital imaging.
The show was guest-curated by For Freedoms, a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the United States, co-founded in 2016 by former Light Work artists-in-residence Eric Gottesman and Hank Willis Thomas. Since then, For Freedoms has produced exhibitions, town hall meetings, and public art to spur greater participation in civic life. On their motivation for starting For Freedoms, Gottesman states: “Our hope was to spark dialogue about our collective civic responsibility to push for freedom and justice today, as those before us pushed for freedom and justice in their time through peaceful protest and political participation.”
Borrowing its title from the Charles Biasiny-Rivera piece of the same name, Be Strong and Do Not Betray Your Soul features photographs from the Light Work collection that explore topics of politics, social justice, identity, and visibility. These subjects have remained significant for Light Work and many of the artists they have supported over their forty-five year history.
The list of artists includes: Laura Aguilar, George Awde, Karl Baden, Lois Barden and Harry Littell, Claire Beckett, Charles Biasiny-Rivera, Samantha Box, Chan Chao, Albert Chong, Renee Cox, Rose Marie Cromwell, Jen Davis, Jess Dugan, John Edmonds, Amy Elkins, Nereyda Garcia Ferraz, Jennifer Garza-Cuen, Antony Gleaton, Jim Goldberg, Eric Gottesman, David Graham, Mahtab Hussain, Tommy Kha, Deana Lawson, Mary Mattingly, Osamu James Nakagawa, Pipo Nguyen-Duy, Jackie Nickerson, Shelley Niro, Suzanne Opton, Kristine Potter, Ernesto Pujol, Irina Rozovsky, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Kanako Sasaki, Pacifico Silano, Clarissa Sligh, Beuford Smith, Amy Stein, Mila Teshaieva, Brian Ulrich, Ted Wathen, Carrie Mae Weems, Carla Williams, Hank Willis Thomas, Pixy Yijun Liao.
These forty-seven artists use the medium of photography to express their own humanity and that of their subjects; to subtly comment on the social, economic, and historical forces that oppress us all, but especially women, queer people, and people of color; and above all to create images that are by turns startling, meditative, and thought-provoking.