Contact: Kawana McGough, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing
In partnership with Auburn University, Tuskegee University will host artist Justin Randolph Thompson from March 15-22, 2023. The public is invited to attend two events: a lecture on Thursday, March 16 at 5 p.m. in Biggin Hall on Auburn's campus and a screening of Thompson's film "III Chapters for Louis Till" on Saturday, March 18 at 3:30 p.m. at the Tuskegee Airmen Historic Site Theater in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Thompson is an artist, cultural facilitator, and educator born in Peekskill, New York, in 1979. Based between Italy and the U.S. since 1999, Thompson is co-founder and director of Black History Month Florence, a multi-faceted exploration of Black histories and cultures in the context of Italy founded in 2016.
Thompson's visit will include a series of talks, workshops, and film screenings about his current project Surveying Gravity. Funded by Creative Capital, Surveying Gravity is dedicated to constructing historical narrations and forward-thinking networks honoring the life and legacy of Thompson's maternal grandfather, Tuskegee Airmen Randolph Wilson Bromery, who is the inspiration of much of his work. Bromery was also an American educator, geologist, and former chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst (1971–79).
While chancellor, Bromery established the W.E.B. Du Bois Archives at the University of Massachusetts and was one of the initiators of the Five College Consortium. He was also president of the Geological Society of America and made numerous contributions as a geologist and academic. During World War II, he was a member of the 332nd bomber group of the Tuskegee Airmen, flying missions in Italy.
Thompson is a recipient of a 2022 Creative Capital Award, a 2021 Italian Council Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Artist Grant, a Franklin Furnace Fund Award, a Visual Artist Grant from the Fundacion Marcelino Botin, and an Emerging Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park, among others.
His work and performances have been exhibited widely in institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museo Reina Sofia, and the American Academy of Rome. They are part of numerous collections, including The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Museo MADRE in Naples.
Justin Thompson's presence at Tuskegee and in Alabama results from his mentorship and relationship with two Tuskegee University scholars: Dr. Rhonda Collier, director of the Tuskegee University Global Office, and Dr. Monyai Chavers, assistant professor of political science. Collier first met Thompson in 2021 during her fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, where she researched the narrative of freedoms in Afro-Italian art. Chavers met Thompson in 2023, when she studied Agriculture and marginalized communities in Italy, continuing the legacy of Booker T. Washington.
Thompson's lecture and film screening in Alabama exemplifies the increasing collaboration between Auburn and Tuskegee. This past November, Auburn University and Tuskegee University signed a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, to expand partnerships between the universities and collaborate on community outreach. The MOU signifies a commitment to forging institutional resources and intellectual capacity to address racial and health disparities in communities across the state.
This learning and awareness opportunity partnership is co-sponsored by the Tuskegee University Global Office, the Auburn University College of Liberal Arts, Africana Studies Program, Department of Art and Art History, and Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.
For more information about Justin Randolph Thompson, go to his website.
For more information about Thompson's visit, contact Rhonda Collier, Director of the Tuskegee University Global Office, at email@example.com.
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