Séan Alonzo Harris: Light Confirms My Reality

Exhibition

March 9 - April 4, 2022
Artist's Statement

Light Confirms My Reality is a community-based photo project and exhibition in collaboration with faculty and students at UMA and the Charles Danforth Gallery. The project is informed by a series of recent photographic projects including Visual Tensions, I Am Not A Stranger and The Space Between. These projects are a proclamation of radical inclusivity, an invitation to see differently, and transform our images and perceptions of others. The photographic document serves to engage the critical issues of race and representation and to make visible the varied, full humanity and expansive beauty of black people. 

 

Amid the pandemic and nationwide protests spurred by the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minnesota, I found myself returning to Ralph Ellison’s text Invisible Man. Ellison’s portrayal of how black men are perceived and received resonates deeply with my personal experience, the urgency of the moment, and asks the viewer to see the complexity of race and identity. I continue to ask the question, how can we see differently and how might seeing differently build bridges across differences? 


Light Confirms My Reality returns to the themes in Ralph Ellison’s text Invisible Man and engages community members in dialog about seeing and cultivating belonging in our current moment of social fracture and social alienation. Students will create photographs as a means to explore their everyday surroundings, to see their communities anew, and illuminate the full humanity and beauty in our homes, neighborhoods and towns. The project will provide a platform to engage in creative expression and animate our connections to each other.

Community Workshop
March 7, March 21, and March 28,  4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

A small group of engaged participants are working with Séan, Amy Rahn, Charles Danforth Gallery Director, and Peter Precourt in a series of three (two hour) workshops to create, with Séan’s Leadership, a collaborative project plan. Due to the (hopefully) in-person nature of one or more of these workshops, this project is open to members of the community  who can (Covid-allowing) be present for in-person workshops in Augusta, Maine. 

From the workshops, individuals will then go into the community and engage those they recognize by sight, but know little about, and will result in a collective artwork that builds small bridges between individuals to form a stronger community.

Important Dates:

Artist’s Informal Lunchtime Talk

Wednesday, March 9, 12 - 1 p.m. via Zoom


 

Keynote Conversation between Séan Alonzo Harris and Anjuli Lebowitz, PhD

March 23, 6 - 7 p.m. via Zoom

Recording of the Keynote Conversation March 23


 

Closing Reception

In the Charles Danforth Gallery Wednesday, March 30, 12 - 1 p.m.

About the Artist

Séan Alonzo Harris studied at the Art Institute of Boston. He then studied abroad in Italy and closer to home at Maine Media Workshops. He established his career in commercial, fine art and editorial photography in Maine, Boston and New York. He works with a broad range of editorial, educational  and corporate clients including Mother Jones, Yankee Magazine, USA Today, LL Bean, Harvard Radcliffe Magazine, Atlantic Rethink, J.P. Morgan Chase and Cathay Pacific Airline. The artist’s professional practice includes teaching at Maine Media Workshops and collaborative, community-driven projects with nonprofit organizations. He has received multiple grants and awards from the Maine Arts Commission, a formal proclamation from the 121st Maine Legislature in recognition of his work and was named by Maine Magazine as one of the “60 Most Collectible Artists in Maine.”