Common Ground by Erin Elizabeth Wilson

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2024 Jacob Lawrence Legacy Resident: Simon Benjamin

Submitted on January 17, 2024 - 1:38am
Simon Benjamin
Simon Benjamin. Courtesy of the Artist.

The Jacob Lawrence Gallery is thrilled to announce that artist Simon Benjamin is the 2024 Jacob Lawrence Legacy Resident. Benjamin is a Jamaican multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker based in New York. He will be in residence at the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design from March 24 through April 9, 2024. As part of the residency, Benjamin will be developing new work and collaborating closely with Guest Curator Berette S Macaulay to plan a cumulative exhibition at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, along with a series of on and off-campus activities in support of his practice.

Benjamin's practice delves into how the past ripples into the present in unexpected ways. Using the sea and coastal space as frameworks, his current body of work explores the impact of lesser-known histories and colonial legacies on our present and their contribution to an interconnected future. In the words of Macaulay, “This is Simon’s first time in our region and as someone from the Caribbean who is invested in working mindfully with communities and spaces from that archipelago, it will be both interesting and instructive to see his lens focused on archipelago histories of the Pacific Northwest.”

The residency will commence with Benjamin conducting field studies at local Salish lands along the Peninsula shorelines to inform the works he will develop at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery during the remainder of his stay. Benjamin will have ongoing opportunities for students and the general public to engage with his creative process. The Gallery will release the full event schedule in mid March.

The cumulative exhibition will run from April 3 to April 20, 2024, with a free and public opening reception scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, from 5 to 7 pm. A publication archiving Benjamin’s work and visit in Washington is planned for a late Spring release.

RSVP to receive updates for the exhibition and other residency activities.


About the Resident

Simon Benjamin is a Jamaican multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker based in New York whose practice considers how the past ripples into the present in unexpected ways. Using the sea and coastal space as frameworks, his current body of work explores how lesser-known histories and colonial legacies impact our present and contribute to an interconnected future.

His work has been included in exhibitions and screenings internationally, including Kaunas Biennial, Lithuania (2023),  Baxter St. CCNY, New York NY (2023); documenta 15, Kassel, Germany (2022); Kingston Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica (2022); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Governor’s Island, NY; Third Horizon film Festival, Miami, FL (2022); trinidad+tobago film festival, Trinidad and Tobago (2021); NYU Gallatin at Governors Island, New York, NY (2021); The 92nd St. Y, New York, NY (2020); Hunter East Harlem Gallery, New York, NY (2019); the Ghetto Biennial, Port Au Prince, Haiti (2018); Jamaica Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica (2017); New Local Space, (NLS) Kingston (2016); and Columbia University, New York, NY (2016).

Learn More: WebsiteInstagram

About the Guest Curator

Berette S Macaulay is an interdisciplinary artist and writer with creative and cultural practices in photography, mixed media, curating, and art organizing. Throughout the duration of the residency, Macaulay will work closely with the Legacy Resident Artist and gallery staff to program and coordinate the residency activities including the exhibition, student engagements, partnered on and off-campus programs with local organizations, and produce a publication to archive this year’s program.

Learn More: Announcement | Website | Instagram

About the Residency

Established in 2015, the Jacob Legacy Residency is a program supported in part by an National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grants for Arts Projects that invites Black artists at all stages of their careers to spend up to 4 weeks at the University of Washington to develop new work that culminates in an exhibition. Residents work closely with students, faculty, interns, and community partners to narrow the gap between practice, pedagogy, discursive discussion, presentation, and reception. Under Guest Curator Berette S Macaulay’s leadership, the 2024 iteration of the residency will continue to deepen its focus on community engagement through partnerships with Black organizations, and by offering the resident off-site opportunities for building relationships and expanding cultural and interdisciplinary modes of witnessing a collaborative production beyond the structures of academia.

Learn More: Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency | NEA Grant Award

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