The New Social Environment#936

Deborah Roberts: What About Us?

Featuring Roberts, Zoraida Lopez-Diago, and Scheherazade Tillet, with Ezza Ahmed


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Artist Deborah Roberts joins curators Zoraida Lopez-Diago and Scheherazade Tillet for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Ezza Ahmed.

In this talk

Visit Deborah Roberts: What about us?, on view at Stephen Friedman Gallery, New York through December 22, 2023 →

Deborah Roberts

Photo of Deborah Roberts
Combining collage with mixed media, Deborah Roberts’s figurative works depict the complexity of Black subjecthood and explore themes of race, identity and gender politics. Roberts’s use of collage reflects the challenges encountered by young Black children as they strive to build their identity, particularly as they respond to preconceived social constructs perpetuated by the Black community, the white gaze and visual culture at large. Combining a range of different facial features, skin tones, hairstyles and clothes, Roberts explains that “with collage, I can create a more expansive and inclusive view of the Black cultural experience." Roberts was born in Austin, Texas in 1962 where she continues to live and work.

Zoraida Lopez-Diago

Photo of Zoraida Lopez-Diago
Zoraida Lopez-Diago is a photographer, curator, and activist committed to centering the voices and histories of people from the African Diaspora, with a particular focus on gender and intersectional environmental justice. Zoraida has lectured at institutions including Harvard University and the Tate Modern. In 2022, she co-curated Picturing Black Girlhood, an exhibition that included more than 80 Black women, girls, and genderqueer artists. In 2016, Zoraida co-founded Women Picturing Revolution and co-edited Black Matrilineage, Photography and Representation: Another Way of Knowing (Leuven University Press). Zoraida is the Vice President of Communications and Development at The Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming and co-founder of Conservationists of Color.

Scheherazade Tillet

Photo of Scheherazade Tillet
Scheherazade Tillet is a photo-based artist, curator, and feminist activist who explores the themes of Blackness, play, freedom, and healing. She is one of the lead artists for the Black Girlhood Altar project and curator of the “#SayHerName: The Rekia Boyd Monument” Project in Chicago. She is co-founder and Executive Director of A Long Walk Home, a nonprofit that uses art to empower young people to end violence against girls and women. She was awarded by The Field Foundation and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for her exemplary leadership work in Chicago. In 2022, she co-curated with Zoraida Lopez-Diago the Picturing Black Girlhood: Moments of Possibility, the largest exhibition on Black girls and genderqueer youth.

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

Ezza Ahmed

Photo of Ezza Ahmed
Ezza Ahmed is an educator and poet based in NYC. Her poetry is concerned with diaspora, memory, and water (rivers, creeks, lakes, etc.). When she isn’t writing, she enjoys cozying up with a good cup of tea. Her work is in Wande Magazine and The Ginger Bug Press and is forthcoming in The Idaho Review and Sycamore Review.

❤️ 🌈 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.