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In coordination with the exhibition Kahlil Robert Irving: Archaeology of the Present, the artist Kahlil Robert Irving selected a series of contemporary video works to screen concurrently in the Kemper Art Museum’s Video Gallery. This is the second time the artist has curated a video series alongside a presentation of his own artworks. The seven videos he selected highlight intimate moments in time and space when Black people are present, emphasizing the fact that no matter the setting, “We are still here.” Locations range from a person's home, to family gatherings, to horseback riding in Oakland, California. These works are meant to remind some people that it is okay to be ourselves and to let others know that it is normal to see Black people participating in different acts or as a part of different metaphors. In today’s world, living is defined by adversity, resistance, and survival, all of which are inextricably linked to digital media. Digital media is variously used as a tool for protest, remembering passing moments , entertainment, and deception. The selected videos celebrate and acknowledge artistic practices that deploy a myriad of tools, technologies, and metaphors.

The participating artists are Lyndon Barrois Jr., Tony Cokes, Cameron Downey, Addoley Dzegede, Charles H. Lee, William M. Morris, Jefferson Pinder, and Tiffany J. Sutton.

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About the Artists

Lyndon Barrois Jr. was born in New Orleans and is based in Pittsburgh. He is assistant professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. He is half of LAB:D, with the artist Addoley Dzegede. Barrois uses cinema as a means to travel both temporally and geographically, bringing to mind ideas of anachronism, simultaneity, and reanimation. He navigates questions around color, control, taste, waste, and the layering of information. He earned his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis (2013) and his BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore (2006). His work has been the focus of recent solo exhibitions at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2023); the Melanie Flood Projects, Portland, OR (2022); and Artists Space, New York (2022).

Tony Cokes was born in Richmond, VA, and lives and works in Providence, where he serves as professor in the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. His work addresses pop culture, race, identity, politics, and the relationships between them through the layering and juxtaposition of text, music, and color. Cokes earned his MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond (1985) and his BA from Goddard College in Plainfield, VT (1979). A solo show of his work is currently on view at the Dia Bridgehampton / The Dan Flavin Art Institute through May 2024. Cokes was awarded the 2022–23 Carla Fendi Rome Prize in Art and Technology. In 2022 he was the subject of a major survey jointly organized by the Haus der Kunst and Kunstverein in Munich.

Cameron Downey, who was born and is based in North Minneapolis, is an anti-disciplinary artist whose work oscillates between photography, film, body, sculpture, curation and otherwise. Seeing instruction in the incidental, the precarious and the misremembered, their work strives to archive, unfurl, make-altar-of and bring fantasy to the Blues of Black life and relation. Downey graduated from Columbia University in 2021 with a double concentration in visual art and environmental science. Their work has recently been exhibited in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, CA (2023), and Hair+Nails in Minneapolis (2023).

Addoley Dzegede is a Ghanaian-American artist currently based in Pittsburgh. She is the inaugural artist in residence for a collaboration between ALMA|LEWIS and the Frick Pittsburgh. Dzegede’s work investigates notions of belonging, migration and location, and hybrid identities. Dzegede earned an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis (2014), where she was a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow, and a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Her work has recently been included in exhibitions at the National Museum of Norway, Oslo (2020), and the Counterpublic Triennial, the Luminary, St. Louis (2019), as well as a solo exhibition at the King School Museum of Contemporary Art, Portland, OR (2020).

Charles Lee, born in Honolulu, is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, researcher and storyteller based in the Bay Area. His work exploits the fissures in the versions of US history that we have been taught, confronting the fallacy of US iconography, encouraging critical dialogue, and offering insight into the notion of what it means to be a Black American today. Lee earned an MFA from California College of the Arts, San Francisco (2023), and a BA from Bowie State University, Maryland (2006). His work has recently been the focus of two solo exhibitions, one at Cube Space Gallery at the Berkeley Civic Arts Center, CA (2023), and one at SF Camerawork, San Francisco (2023).

William M. Morris is a St. Louis–based artist/filmmaker. Morris works with found film—both historical and contemporary—to address a range of topics, including politics, race, and memory. He rejects traditional narrative formats in favor of experimentation and subjective experience. Morris earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1989) and a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis (1985). His recent exhibitions include two solo exhibitions at Bruno David Gallery, St. Louis, in 2020 and 2023.

Jefferson Pinder was born in Washington, DC, and is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist. He is currently professor of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Pinder says of his work, “Inspired by the symbiosis of music and the moving image, I portray the black body both frenetically and through drudgery in order to convey relevant cultural experiences.” Pinder earned an MFA in mixed media (2003) and a BA in theatre (1992) from the University of Maryland. His recent solo exhibitions include his participation in the Social Justice Billboard Project in Minneapolis (2023), a performance at Untitled Art Fair in Miami (2022), and an exhibition at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC (2022).

Tiffany J. Sutton, born in Rochester, NY, is a St. Louis–based artist who works with digital, film, and instant cameras. Sutton was artist in residence at Paul Artspace / Godek, Stuttgart, Germany (2023); Gullkistan Center for Creativity, Laugarvatn, Iceland (2022); and the Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis (2019). In 2020 she was a Harvard #InTheCity Visual Artist Fellow.  Sutton was awarded a Regional Arts Commission St. Louis Artist Support Grant in 2023 and 2019 and the Luminary Futures Fund grant in 2020. Sutton’s work has recently been included in exhibitions at the Mark Arts, Wichita, KS (2023), and the Houska Gallery, St. Louis (2023 and 2022).