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Parrish Presents Discussion About ‘The Land Claim’

A conversation with Tomashi Jackson, K-Sue Park and Kelly Dennis

The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill will present a live-stream talk this Friday on historical land rights and appropriation in the United States—specifically the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton. The discussion will be led by artist Tomashi Jackson and will feature associate professor of law at Georgetown University K-Sue Park and Kelly Dennis, a member of the Shinnecock Nation and attorney specializing in Federal American Indian law. Corinne Erni, the senior curator of ArtsReach and special projects for the museum, will moderate the talk.

Jackson is the museum’s 2020 Platform artist and is working on the multi-faceted project, “The Land Claim.” The project will culminate with an exhibit, now slated to debut in summer 2021. The exhibit, which focuses on the historic and contemporary lived experiences of Indigenous, Black and Latinx families on the East End of Long Island, was originally planned for the summer and fall of 2020, but was postponed due to COVID-19.

To create this project, Jackson will continue to research and interview community leaders and representatives from Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island, the Eastville Community Historical Society of Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center and the Shinnecock Nation.  

“I look forward to continuing the conversation with Tomashi Jackson and her special guests about ‘The Land Claim’ project with a focus on the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s recent history,” said Erni. “Tomashi’s commitment to bringing these often unknown regional histories together in a broader context is more important now than ever.”

Jackson’s exhibit will shed light on current and historical racial segregation on the East End. Her work plans to focus on issues that have linked past and present communities of color including housing, transportation, livelihood in relation to migration and agriculture. The end result will include new paintings, video collages, and site-specific installations based on archival images and documents, original drawings and transcripts of her interviews.

It’s similar to her work in the 2019 Whitney Biennial where she “drew a parallel between the destruction of Seneca Village, a free Black community that was razed in the 1850s for the creation of Central Park, and contemporary practices of redevelopment that rely on the targeted dispossession of Black and Brown property owners through the Third Party Transfer Program,” says the Parrish.

“I try to balance an intuitive practice in the studio with research that’s sincere,” said Jackson of the Whitney exhibit. “I’m really trying to understand the histories that underpin these sides of human engagement that compel me to respond.”

The 12-month phased project for the Parrish includes a series of talks—Friday’s talk is the second in the series—with community advocates and historians recently interviewed by the artist. Additional talks will focus on similar issues in the East End’s Black and Latinx communities. 

At 5 p.m. the public is invited to join the talk virtually, as part of the Museum’s Friday Nights Live! series, and to engage in a live chat following the discussion. For more info visit parrishart.org.

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