cit.i.zen.ship: reflections on rights

Color photo of a hand silhouetted behind an American flag by Chester Higgins

Chester Higgins, State of Affairs, 2018


cit.i.zen.ship: reflections on rights

Opening Reception, October 4th, 6pm

Department of Photography & Imaging Galleries
721 Broadway Lobby & 8th floor
October 4, 2018 - January 18, 2019
Lorie Novak & Deborah Willis, Ph.D., curators
Riana Gideon, assistant curator

The Department of Photography & Imaging at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in collaboration with For Freedoms' 50 State Initiative presents cit.i.zen.ship: reflections on rights with photographs, works on paper, writings, and video that reflect on human rights and notions of citizenship.

“To accept one’s past—one’s history,” wrote James Baldwin in The Fire Next Time, “is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.” The theme of the exhibition reminds us that our actions today will affect the future, just as the actions of courageous individuals during the Civil Rights Movement changed the world.

Conceptually and characteristically, each of the artists uses different symbolic references to visually represent the definable issues surrounding civil rights, resistance, environmental issues, immigration, race, class, gentrification, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights, disability rights, prison reform, freedom of speech and more. They use documentation, process, history, and personal experience to engage the politics of this nation and pave the way for new narratives in the future.

cit.i.zen.ship: reflections on rights is part of the For Freedoms' 50 State Initiative, a new phase of For Freedoms programming to encourage broad participation and inspire conversation around November’s midterm elections. Building off of the existing artistic infrastructure in the United States, For Freedoms has developed a network of over 300 artists and 200 institutional partners who will produce nationwide public art installations, exhibitions and local community dialogues in order to inject nuanced, artistic thinking into public discourse. Centered around the vital work of artists, For Freedoms hopes that these exhibitions and related projects will model how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and patriotism.

cit.i.zen.ship: reflections on rights by teen photographers will be presented at Photoville, Brooklyn Bridge Park, September 13-23, 2018

Featured Artists:

Jack Adam • Aaron Adams • Gregory Michael Alders • Bridgette Auger • Perry Bard / Richard Sullivan • Laylah Amatullah Barrayn • Alexandra Bell • Cydney Blitzer • Terry E. Boddie • Masha Bordovskikh • Sheila Pree Bright • Zoe Buckman • Katherine Spencer Carey • Community Heroes, NYC (Jasmin Chang, Zac Martin, and Ivan Valladares) • Emily Contreras • Jennifer Ling Datchuk • Damien Davis • Rose DeSiano • Claire Dorfman • Adama Delphine Fawundu • Lola Flash • Marcela A. Fuentes / Flavia Sparacino • Bill Gaskins • Michael George • Riana Gideon • Eric Gottesman • Mohammed Amir Hamza • Eric Hart Jr • Chester Higgins • Grace Hinchen • Stephen Hunt • Jessica Ingram • Tailyr Irvine • Deborah Jack • Veronica Jackson • Monique Jaques • Mark Jenkinson • Philomene Joseph • Ed Kashi • Nick Kline • Lili Kobielski • LigoranoReese • William Martin III • Isa Meijia • Editha Mesina • Diane Meyer • Tess Mayer • Marilyn Montufar • Nancy Newberry • Mary Notari • Ademola Olugebefola • Jayson Overby • Gordon Parks • Shina Peng • Stephen Perloff • Alice Proujansky • Zayira Ray • Jamie Schofield Riva • Joseph Rodriguez • Maria-Juliana Rojas • Bayeté Ross Smith • Griselda San Martin • Vicky Sanchez • Dakota Santiago • Ken Schles • Joey Solomon • David J. Spear • Grace Swierenga • Momo Takahashi • Diana Taylor • Hank Willis Thomas • Olga Ush • Katerina Voegtle • Julia Wang • Adrian White • Wendel White • Daniella Zalcman

And High School Students from:

NYU Tisch Future Imagemakers • Bronx Documentary Center Junior Photo League • Benito Juarez Academy High School • ICP Teen Academy • Lower East Side Girls Club • Our Community Record Two Eagle River School, Flathead Nation • Red Hook Reporters, Brooklyn • Reel Works • And other students from NYC, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles


Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free. Photo identification is required for access to the building. For more information, visit or call 212.998.1930.

The Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts is a four-year B.F.A. program centered on the making and understanding of images. Students explore photo-based imagery as personal and cultural expression. Situated within New York University, the program offers students both the intensive focus of an arts curriculum and a serious and broad grounding in the liberal arts.

For Freedoms is a platform for greater participation in the arts and in civil society, producing exhibitions, installations, public programs, and billboard campaigns to advocate for inclusive civic participation. Inspired by American artist Norman Rockwell’s paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms (1941)—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear— For Freedoms Federation uses art to encourage and deepen public explorations of freedom in the 21st century. Founded by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms Federation encourages new forms of critical discourse. The mission is to use art as a vehicle to build greater participation in American Democracy.