Published October 25, 2023
Prestigious Soros Art Fellowship, provided by Open Society Foundations, awarded to UB Art MFA Alumnus Deborah Jack (2002)
From Open Society Foundation website:
Term: 18 months
Location: St. Maarten
Deborah Jack (pronouns: she/her) will create To Make A Map of My Memory: Wayfinding Along Synaptic Topographies, linking cultural memory preservation in St. Maarten with climate justice through an archive of oral histories, a connected film, and multimedia installation. She will center the experiences of communities in small island nations bearing the brunt of climate disasters and work collaboratively with her community in St. Maarten to produce self-determined narratives and representations that confront issues of colonial extraction and cultural commodification for touristic consumption. Jack will combine voices and recollections on the island’s shifting landscape from elders in St. Maarten with archival imagery, vernacular photography, and present-day images of the changed landscape to create a poetic documentary project. With To Make a Map of My Memory, Jack underscores the importance of preserving these intangible histories within the broader collective memory of smaller islands and advocates for the value of island consciousness as a counter and cure to the extractive nature of landlocked continental forces.
Jack is a multidisciplinary artist based between St. Maarten and Jersey City whose work includes video installation, photography, and text. Her practice engages a variety of strategies for mining the intersections of histories, cultural memory, ecology, and climate change. Her work was featured in the exhibition Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s-Today at the MCA Chicago and will travel to ICA Boston in Fall 2023. In Fall 2021, a retrospective, Deborah Jack: 20 Years, was presented at Pen + Brush in New York City. Her work is in the collections of the MCA Chicago and the Smith College Museum of Art. Deborah received a Nancy Graves Grant for Visual Artists (2021) and she is a 2023 Changing Climate Resident at the Santa Fe Art Institute, as well as a Surf Point Foundation Artist in Residence. Deborah is currently a Professor of Art at New Jersey City University.
The Soros Arts Fellowship supports innovative mid-career artists and cultural producers advancing social change around the world. The fellowship provides artists with the resources to develop a large-scale project on their own terms in their own local contexts.