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Black History Month programming refocuses on art

February 25, 2022

Black History Month programming continued with two on-campus events over the past week. The festivities began on Saturday evening in Kresge Auditorium, with a film screening of Shawn Batey’s documentary “Changing Face of Harlem” preceding a Q&A session with Batey.

Monday evening featured the opening of “Capture the Movement,” a photography exhibition that considers “who is a protester?” in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. The opening accompanied a Q&A session with activist and photographer Adreinne Wahid, activist Isaac Ortega and Batey, who served as the exhibit’s curator.

Batey created “Capture the Movement” with the intent of highlighting and elevating the work of Black photographers centered around the Black Lives Matter movement. In total, the traveling exhibit comprises 60 images from 60 Black artists varying in age and experience.

Students responded positively to the exhibit. After listening to Batey, Wahid and Ortega’s guest lecture in a theater class, Wilder Short ’22 made a point to visit the exhibit on his own time.

“I think it was a remarkable opportunity to have some exposure, on this campus, to the BLM protests and movements from 2020 that the Bowdoin community may not have had,” Wilder wrote in an email to the Orient. “Especially so in a community and town that is predominately white, it is important to be cognizant of what happened over that summer, and more shockingly what continues to happen across the country. If the exhibition can elicit feelings that spur on action, change, or moments to learn and moments to listen, then I’d hope it happens here.”

The exhibit, which will display in Morrell Lounge until March 12, is far from Batey’s first foray into the world of Black art.

Batey directed “Changing Face of Harlem” in 2014, a documentary filmed over the course of ten years that highlights gentrification in Harlem. The film explores the neighborhood’s history through the personal experiences of its residents, small business owners, politicians, developers and clergy.

Professor of Cinema Studies Tricia Welsch encouraged her students to attend these events to increase their engagement with the College community through visual media.

“[Going to events like these] makes Bowdoin, a small place, feel a little bigger, a little more connected—which it actually is,” Welsch said.

In conjunction with Theater and Dance, the Division of Student Affairs, Office of Inclusion and Diversity, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Cinema Studies, Africana Studies, Government and Legal Studies cosponsored both events with generous support from Lectures and Concerts.


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