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Event: Artist Talk The Mask of Prosperity Artist Roundtable

Bouchra Khalili, The Speeches Series, 2012-2013. Courtesy the artist and mor charpentier. Photo by Ji Yang.


July 02, 2024


12:00–1:30 pm


Virtual via Zoom



Moderated by Denny Mwaura, join exhibiting artists S*an D. Henry-Smith, Katherine Simóne Reynolds, and Gabrielle Octavia Rucker to discuss ideas circulating in their works included in our exhibition, The Mask of Prosperity

Henry-Smith’s photographs document their residence between New York, London, and Amsterdam over a six-year period, historicizing their wanderings within a more extensive Afro-diasporic heritage. Reynold’s works meditate on familial loss, marriage, and wealth accumulation through inheritance. Rucker’s poem Plait (Heritance) reflects on what she has lost both physically and ritualistically through the theft, murder, and displacement of her ancestors.

ACCESS INFORMATION: This program is free and open to the public. For questions and access accommodations, email


S*an D. Henry-Smith is a collaborative practitioner working in poetry and photography, and by extension, sound, performance and publishing. They have received awards and fellowships from Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Fulbright Program, The Poetry Project, and Poets House. Recent solo exhibitions include “tremor low” at ROZENSTRAAT in Amsterdam (2023) and “in awe of geometry & mornings” at White Columns in New York (2021). Henry-Smith has read and performed previously at The Poetry Project, Basilica Soundscape, 47 Canal, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Stedelijk Museum, Metro54, and elsewhere. Their book Wild Peach (2020), was published by Futurepoem, and shortlisted for the PEN Open Book Award, and they are the author of two chapbooks: Body Text (2016) and Flotsam Suite: A Strange & Precarious Life, or How We Chronicled the Little Disasters & I Won’t Leave the Dance Floor Til It’s Out of My System (2019), the co-author (alongside Imani Elizabeth Jackson) of Consider the Tongue (2019), and the director of Lunar New Year (2021).

Katherine Simóne Reynolds’ practice investigates emotional dialects and psychogeographies of Blackness within the Black Midwestern landscape, conversations on the “non”, and the importance of “anti- excellence”. Her work cautiously attempts to physicalize emotions and experiences by constructing works that include photo based works, film, choreography, sculpture, and an anxious writing practice. Utilizing Black embodiment, vulnerabilities and the interior alongside her own personal narrative as a place of departure has made her question her own navigation of ownership, inclusion, and authenticity within a contemporary gaze. Her practice deals in Blackness from her own perspective and she continuously searches for what it means to produce “Black Work”. Reynolds has exhibited and performed at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Museum of Modern Art New York, SculptureCenter, and the Graham Foundation. She has exhibited in national and international group and solo shows and has spoken at The Contemporary Art Museum of Saint Louis, The Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Black Midwest Initiative Symposium at University of Minnesota.

Gabrielle Octavia Rucker is a writer, editor and teaching artist from the Great Lakes currently living in the Gulf Coast. She is a 2020 Poetry Project Fellow, a 2016 Kimbilio Fiction Fellow, and the founder of the The Seminary of Ecstatic Poetics, a non-traditional learning space for the poetically inclined. Her debut poetry collection, Dereliction (2022) is currently available via The Song Cave.