Tomashi Jackson: The Land Claim
July 11—November 7, 2021
Centered on the historic and contemporary lived experiences of Indigenous, Black, and Latinx families on the East End of Long Island, the exhibition speaks to how issues of housing, transportation, livelihood, migration, and agriculture link these communities.
Tomashi Jackson: The Land Claim is a multi-part exhibition of newly created work in painting, sound, photography, and archival materials. The Land Claim centers on the experiences—past and present—of communities of color on Long Island’s East End. The exhibition opens up a discourse around collective memory and historical narratives of labor, educational access, transportation, and land rights, bringing to light systemic racial segregation in the area. Organized by Corinne Erni, Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects, with Curatorial Fellow Lauren Ruiz, The Land Claim unfolds across multiple galleries as well as outdoors. Jackson (SMACT ’12) conducted research for and primarily created this work while in residence (in partnership with the Parrish Art Museum) at The Watermill Center, as an Inga Maren Otto Fellow. A 96-page catalogue, scheduled for Fall 2021 publication, accompanies the exhibition. It includes new scholarship by Erni and artist Eric N. Mack, interviews with a cohort of Jackson’s research collaborators, and drawings by Martha Schnee.
The artist’s extensive research began in January 2020 when she conducted in-depth interviews with members of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities in the area. A conversation with a Shinnecock Nation member surfaced the history of land appropriation in the Hamptons and led to the exhibition’s title. Jackson continued her research virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, with live-stream public talks and online interviews. Interviewees included educators, artists, historians, and advocates from organizations that support their communities: Donnamarie Barnes, Curator and Archivist for Sylvester Manor Educational Farm in Shelter Island; Bonnie Cannon, Executive Director of the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center (BHCCRC); Steven Molina Contreras, a lens-based artist; Shinnecock Indian Nation members Jeremy Dennis, a fine art photographer and Kelly Dennis, an attorney specializing in Federal Indian law and Secretary of the Shinnecock Council of Trustees; Dr. Georgette Grier-Key, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Eastville Community Historical Society; Minerva Perez, Executive Director of OLA (Organización Latino-Americana) of Eastern Long Island; Tela Loretta Troge, an attorney and counselor at law; and Richard “Juni” Wingfield, a long-time community liaison for the Southampton School District.
Throughout the process, Jackson worked with artist and educator Martha Schnee and research scholar K. Anthony Jones to process and analyze the interviews as well as the archival photographs provided by families, historical societies, libraries, and news sources. The Interviews, a multi-channel sound work sited outdoors at the Museum’s entrance, was created in collaboration with Michael J. Schumacher and composed exclusively of audio from the interviews. This first encounter with the interviewees’ voices provides an immediate sense of place, bringing to focus communities largely omitted from official history.
Tomashi Jackson, b. 1980, Houston, Texas, is an artist based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and New York City. Her solo exhibitions include Brown II at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2021); The Land Claim at the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York (2021); Love Rollercoaster at The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2020); Forever My Lady at Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2020); Time Out of Mind at Tilton Gallery, New York City (2019); Interstate Love Song at the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, Georgia (2018); and The Subliminal is Now at Tilton Gallery, New York City (2016). Her work was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial and has been featured in group exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; the Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans; and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Her work is included in the public collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Jackson completed the Skowhegan summer residency and was a Resident Fellow at ARCAthens, Athens, Greece in 2019. She was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant in 2020. Jackson has taught at Harvard University, Rhode Island School of Design, Massachusetts College of Art, Cooper Union, and New York University. Her work is represented by Tilton Gallery in New York City and Night Gallery in Los Angeles.