Laura Heyman—Pa Bouje Ankò: Don’t Move Again

Laura Heyman—Pa Bouje Ankò: Don’t Move Again
Exhibition Dates: September 13–October 15, 2010
Lecture, Gallery Reception, and Verbal Blend Performance: October 7, 5:00–8:00pm

Laura Heyman’s intriguing photographs, on view this fall at Light Work in the exhibition Pa Bouje Ankò: Don’t Move Again, capture life in Haiti both before and after the earthquake. She began the photographic project in Port-Au-Prince with a question:”Can someone from the first world see and photograph within the third world without voyeurism or objectification?”

Heyman works with an 8×10 camera to create black-and-white portraits that recall the work of earlier studio photographers like Mike Disfarmer and James VanderZee. According to the artist, while making these photographs, she was aware of the many cultural complexities of this type of representation, stating,”I was highly conscious of everything that stood in the way of a real exchange between myself and each person who sat for a portrait—race, class, opportunity and lack of opportunity, agency, the ability to move freely through the world. These things can make communication difficult, as they are always present, but rarely discussed.”

Heyman’s first visit to Haiti was in November 2009. On subsequent trips and in the aftermath of the earthquake, her project has evolved to include various rapidly expanding populations in Port-Au-Prince tied to reconstruction. United Nations officials, NGO employees, volunteers, grassroots organizations, business investors, and local politicians are among the subjects she plans to shoot; the first group of non-Haitian subjects photographed for the project was the U.S. Infantry, in May 2010.

Heyman is an associate professor of photography in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. Her work has been exhibited at such venues as Ampersand International Arts, San Francisco, CA; Deutsches Polen-Institut, Darmstadt, Germany; Senko Studio, Viborg, Denmark; and The National Portrait Gallery, London, United Kingdom. Her most recent curatorial project, Who’s Afraid of America, featuring the work of Justyna Badach, Larry Clark, Cheryl Dunn, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Zoe Strauss and Tobin Yelland, was exhibited at Wonderland Art Space, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Light Work will feature a Syracuse Symposium event with the artist on Thursday, October 7 from 5–8pm. The evening will begin with a spoken-word poetry performance by Verbal Blend, followed by a lecture by Heyman and a gallery reception. Verbal Blend is a spoken-word poetry program sponsored by Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, designed to enhance participants’ confidence in writing and performing original poems. The program is comprised of a five-week workshop series on poetry forms and formats, journal entry and peer-reviews. Participants get the opportunity to showcase their work at public venues such as open mic nights. For this event, a group of SU students, high school students and community members have prepared spoken-word performances in response to Heyman’s images. Syracuse Symposium is a semester-long intellectual and artistic festival celebrating interdisciplinary thinking, imagining and creating, presented by SU’s College of Arts and Sciences to the entire Syracuse community. The 2010 Syracuse Symposium theme is Conflict (Peace & War).

Also on view during this exhibition is Bearing Witness: The Light Work Collection, featuring work from Light Work Collection. Gallery hours for these exhibitions are Sunday to Friday, 10am–6pm, and by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please call 315-443-1300. Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in Booth Garage.

Light Work invites groups and individuals to schedule tours and gallery talks of the exhibition and facility. Light Work is a non-profit, artist-run organization dedicated to the support of artists working in photography and electronic media. Light Work is a member of CMAC, the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University.

For more information, please contact Jessica Heckman at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or
**Digital press images and image information for this exhibition/event are available upon request.

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