Common Ground

Looking After: Conversations on Art and Healing

Curating and Healing


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Art Historians Jami Powell, Wanda Nanibush, and Anna Arabindan-Kesson join Suzanne Hudson and Tanya Sheehan for the third installment of our series Looking After: Conversations on Art and Healing. We conclude with a poetry reading by Tanaya Winder.

In this talk

View epsiode one: Picturing the COVID-19 Pandemic →

View episode two: New Histories of Art, Medicine, and Healing →

Jami Powell

Photo of Jami Powell
Before being promoted to curator of Indigenous art at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College in 2021, Jami Powell was the Hood’s first associate curator of Native American art. Powell, a citizen of the Osage Nation, has a PhD in anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has focused her research on American Indian expressive forms through an interdisciplinary lens. She has worked as a research assistant at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, was a Mellon Fellow at the Peabody Essex Museum, and has published widely, with articles in Museum Anthropology, Journal of Anthropological Research, Museum Management and Curatorship, Museum Magazine, and First American Art Magazine.

Wanda Nanibush

Photo of  Wanda Nanibush
Prior to joining the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2016, Wanda Nanibush held various curatorial and academic roles across Canada since 2001. In addition to independent curation, Nanibush held the post of Aboriginal Arts Officer at the Ontario Arts Council, Executive Director of ANDPVA and strategic planning for CCA. She holds a Master’s Degree in visual studies from the University of Toronto, where she has also taught graduate courses. Nanibush has published widely in magazines, books and journals. As co-lead of the AGO’s department of Indigenous and Canadian art, Nanibush’s area of specialty is Indigenous Art and collection diversification.

Anna Arabindan-Kesson

Photo of Anna Arabindan-Kesson
Immigrant art historian, writer, and curator Anna Arabindan-Kesson was born in Sri Lanka. She studied in New Zealand and Australia, and worked as a Registered Nurse in the UK before completing her PhD in African American Studies and Art History at Yale University. Her research and teaching focuses on Black Diaspora and British Art, with an emphasis on histories of race, empire, and medicine. Her first book, Black Bodies, White Gold: Art, Cotton and Commerce in the Atlantic World, is now available from Duke University Press. She is also the director of Art Hx, a digital humanities project and object database that addresses the intersections of art, race and medicine in the British empire.

Suzanne Hudson

Photo of Suzanne Hudson.
Art historian and critic Suzanne Hudson is Associate Professor of Art History and Fine Arts at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She writes with special emphasis on the history, theory, and conventions of painting and process. She is also a regular contributor to Artforum, and has penned numerous essays for international exhibition catalogs and artist monographs. Recent books include Agnes Martin: Night Sea (Afterall/MIT, 2017) and Contemporary Painting (Thames & Hudson, 2021). She is currently at work on Better for the Making: Art, Therapy, Process, a study of the therapeutic origins of art-making within American modernism.

Tanya Sheehan

Photo of Tanya Sheehan.
William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Art at Colby College, Tanya Sheehan is the Principal Investigator of Colby’s inaugural Public Humanistic Inquiry Lab, Critical Medical Humanities: Perspectives on the Intersection of Race and Medicine. Across her career, Sheehan has worked at the intersection of American art history, medical humanities, and critical race studies. This work includes two books, Doctored: The Medicine of Photography in Nineteenth-Century America (2011) and Study in Black and White: Photography, Race, Humor (2018). Her current book project examines the subjects of medicine and public health in modernist and contemporary art by African Americans. Since 2015 she has served as executive editor of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art Journal.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Tanaya Winder reading.

Tanaya Winder

A photo of [Tanaya Winder]
Photo by Viki Eagle
Author, singer / songwriter, poet, and motivational speaker Tanaya Winder comes from an intertribal lineage of Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, and Duckwater Shoshone Nations where she is an enrolled citizen. She received a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of New Mexico. Winder’s poetry collections include Words Like Love and Why Storms are Named After People and Bullets Remain Nameless. Tanaya’s performances and talks blend storytelling, singing, and spoken word to teach about different expressions of love and “heartwork.” Her specialties include youth & women empowerment, healing trauma through art, creative writing workshops, and mental wellness advocacy

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.