Laura Heyman

Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series 2011

The MFA in Visual Studies welcomes artist and curator Laura Heyman as part of the 2010-2011 Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series.

Shot in Haiti’s capitol Port-au-Prince and recently published in Contact Sheet 158, Laura Heyman’s project Pa Bouje Ankò: Don’t Move Again was interested in exploring formal portraiture that followed the example of artists like Mike Disfarmer, James Van Der Zee and Seydou Keita, who used the commercial and utilitarian aspects of their practice to portray their subjects with a consideration and respect that was both clear-eyed and beautiful.

Aware of the many cultural complexities of representation she had many questions, candidly stating, “I was highly conscious of everything that stood in the way of a real exchange between a subject from the first world and a subject from the third world—race, class, opportunity and lack of opportunity, agency, the ability to move freely through the world; all of the things that make communication difficult, as they are always present, but rarely discussed. […] What I found when I arrived in Haiti was that I was working within a community of fellow artists and their families and neighbors.”

Less than a month after Heyman returned from Haiti, the devastating earthquake struck causing unimaginable destruction and loss of life. Heyman is planning to return to Haiti within the next several months to offer her small part to the relief effort and to extend her project that has now become part record and part memorial.

Laura 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.

Presented by ZGF Architects LLP

Supported by PNCA+FIVE (Ford Institute for Visual Education)

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