Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America

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Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America
Date: Tue 28 June 2011

Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, is a visual testament to lynching as a form of social violence in the United States of America from 1880 to the 1960s. The photographs, postcards and memorabilia featured in the exhibition are shown in the UK for the first time. The images collectively reveal how deeply ingrained racist ideologies had become, to the extent that by the early 1900s, lynching was transformed into a major participatory form of entertainment and through photography into a space of commercial exchange and celebration.

Taken at various lynching events, the images of Without Sanctuary were not confined to any one period, place, or race and depict, in graphic detail, victims from a variety of backgrounds and characteristics: white, black, young, old, men, women, Jews and gentiles. However, most of the Americans lynched were African Americans: as many as 4,000 black men and women.

These photographs uncover a horrific American visual legacy, one that has often been left hidden, but which collector James Allen uncovered: ‘I believe the photographer was more than a perceptive spectator at lynchings. The photographic art played as significant a role in the ritual as torture or souvenir grabbing - a sort of two-dimensional biblical swine, a receptacle for a collective sinful self. Even dead, the victims were without sanctuary.’

Without Sanctuary serves as a stark reminder that freedom comes with a solemn responsibility on all citizens to treat others with dignity, respect and fairness. The exhibition bears witness to the victims, and to those whose individual and collective efforts helped end lynching, and serves as a reminder that there are still vulnerable populations today who need sanctuary from intimidation and oppression. Lynching is a distortion of human and civil rights, and so represents an assault on civilisation itself.

The Panel Includes:

Mark Sealy is the director of Autograph ABP and joint CEO of Rivington Place. He has a special interest in photography and its relationship to social change, identity politics and human rights. In his role as director of Autograph ABP he has initiated the production of well over 40 publications, produced exhibitions worldwide and commissioned photographers globally. He is a PhD candidate at Durham University, where his research focuses on photography and cultural violence.

Candace Allen is a screenwriter and political activist. She received her BA from Harvard University before attending the New York University School of Film and Television. She became the first African-American female member of the Directors Guild of America. In addition to writing screenplays, she has worked as assistant director since the 1970s. In 2004 she published her first novel, a fictionalized biography of jazz musician Valaida Snow.

Brett St. Louis is a Senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research interests crystallise around: the conceptual and practical status of race.

Event Type: Panel discussion

Event venue: Human Rights Action Centre
Time: 7pm

Contact: 020 7729 9200
Email: info@autograph-abp.co.uk

Website: http://www.autograph-abp.co.uk/
Price: £5.00
Online tickets: http://amnestypaneldiscussion.eventbrite.com/