As an artist, my creative practice comprises video, installation, writing, and site-specific public projects that include a walking component. The relationship between site, story and mobility fuels a wide range of research and production, including the relationship between natural histories, myth and individual story; walking as a form of listening to site; and material agency in an age of climate change. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include work for the Bates College Museum of Art, Queens Museum, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and the Kulturcentrum Ronneby Konsthall (Sweden). I am an Assistant Professor in the MFA (Studio Arts) program at Maine College of Art.
Art can be a powerful stimulant of consciousness and impetus for reflection and can help viewers see and think differently about ordinary things. In this time of heightened scrutiny of immigration and virulent contestation over the right to mobility, this exhibition of work by 14 artists opens a space for community members to think through and challenge prevailing assumptions about migration. The exhibition of work intentionally targets the visibility of migration as a global phenomenon, directing attention to the evidence of mobilities that are always present everywhere.
— Julie Poitras Santos & Catherine Besteman, Guest Curators
My scholarly work interrogates the roots of violence and displacement and how people craft ways to understand crisis. Because the visual register is such a powerful mode for shaping comprehension, I am curious about art’s power to make meaning and shape consciousness. My work has been supported by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the School of Advanced Research, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Recent books include Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine (Duke University Press, 2016) and The Insecure American (University of California Press, 2009). I am the Francis F. and Ruth K. Bartlett Professor of Anthropology at Colby College.