“Seeing is forgetting the name of what one sees.”
"In this library, an executioner’s hook hangs above the stacks. The fiction section sits behind a heavy metal door. The view from the Children’s Section window is through bars, and the gallows rumble under the steps of students.
If my grandfather had not been chased from Mississippi by the Ku Klux Klan, this library might have been a place he knew. It was built in 1901— fifteen years before he was born— to be the Noxubee County Jail. Nearly eighty years later— a few years before I was born— it was transformed into the Noxubee County Library. What carried through that century are the bars. What exists now is a surreal space, a literalized poetry stanza, an actualized picket sign.
These drawings spring from this unusual place, and my unusual relationship to it. Had my grandfather not been a racial terror refugee, I may have grown up in this place doing my homework, reading books, seeing magicians, making friends, all under the hook. The surfaces, damaged and referencing sheetrock and architectural material, create a platform to learn: meticulous drawing with no more material than a schoolkid might have on hand: watercolor and graphite.
I believe drawing is an act of listening: to draw this space is to learn it. This exhibition represents the first small step toward hearing this space, and growing into it. " - Jordan Seaberry
Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Jordan first came to Providence to attend Rhode Island School of Design. Alongside his art, he built a career as a grassroots organizer, helping to fight and pass multiple criminal justice reform milestones, including Probation Reform, the Unshackling Pregnant Prisoners Bill, and laying the groundwork for the “Ban the Box” movement in Rhode Island.
Jordan serves as Co-Director of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, a people-powered nonprofit agency, and most recently worked as the Director of Public Policy at the Nonviolence Institute.
He serves on the Providence Board of Canvassers, overseeing the city’s elections; as a Board Member at New Urban Arts in Providence; and as a Board Member for Protect Families First, working on community-oriented drug policy reform. He has received fellowships from the Art Matters Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, and he currently serves as the Community Leader Fellow at Roger Williams University School of Law.
Seaberry attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2015. His work has been included most recently in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art exhibition State of the Art, 2020 and the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum New England Biennial, 2019. Recent solo exhibitions include We Speak Upon the Ashes at Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston, MA, Black Light/Black Heat at Steam Gallery, Lincoln School, Providence, RI and A Blacker Landscape at University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI.