Trustman Art Gallery

“Return Eternal: Into the Archives” – Panel Discussion

Mar 28, 2024 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Join exhibiting artists Claude Eshun, Tarik Bartel, and Jamieson Edson for a discussion of their group exhibition Return Eternal: Into the Archives in Trustman Art Gallery on Thursday, March 28 at 6:30PM. This panel discussion will include the exhibition’s co-curators, Helen Popinchalk and Mel Taing. This is an in-person event, open to the public, at 300 Fenway, Boston MA 02115 in the Trustman Art Gallery on the 4th floor of Simmons University’s Main College Building. 

Return Eternal: Into the Archives, features photographs from Claude Eshun, Jamieson Edson and Tarik Bartel, and explores both contemporary works as well as pieces from each artist’s archive.  The exhibition is on view from Monday, February 12, 2024 to Friday, March 29, 2024. The opening reception is on Thursday, February 15 from 5 to 8 PM in the Trustman Art Gallery.  The artists will join the curators for a panel discussion on Thursday, March 28 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.  The Gallery will be closed Monday, March 4 through Friday, March 8.  

Co-curated by photographer Mel Taing and Gallery Director Helen Popinchalk, this exhibition threads the connections between early photographs and those being created in the present.  This exhibition seeks to inspire students, members of the Simmons community and of the Greater Boston community to think about the implications of archives and discover the process of preserving relationships, memories, and connections through photography.

The medium of photography is inherently archival and every image is an act of preservation. The image itself, the subject it documents, and the associations of its maker are cataloged within this medium. As photographers who primarily capture portraits, Bartel, Edson and Eshun have developed archives that contain the memories and relationships of those around them. Whether it is tracing family lineages and history, the ephemera of lust and the immutable love of queer community, or the deeply personal and relational work of cultural organizing and activism, we witness the visual and contextual themes they eternally return to. This exhibition invites us to visit the past, present and future with moments including but not limited to: Eshun physically integrating his family’s photography archive into powerful portraits of himself and his family, Bartel documenting portraits of community in tandem with cultural organizing, and Edson utilizing AI to generate new and intriguing narratives and reproducing them as analog polaroids.

Claude Eshun, also known as Don Claude, investigates ​​family history in the context of the diasporic impulse to adapt and assimilate.  He reflects on scenes from his own personal history as he wrestles with feelings of alienation and contradiction, of being African, black, hypervisible, and invisible simultaneously.  He is an educator at Harvard University for the Photography courses and Digital Classroom and currently resides in Worcester, MA. As a photo-based artist, his work was exhibited at the Harvard Art Museum, Beacon Street Gallery, and The White Room. As a curator he exhibited Pictures and Progress: A Massart Alumni Show to support last year’s Adderley Lecture series with Dr. Sarah Lewis. He received his Masters of Fine Arts in Photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2022.

Jamieson Edson’s creative process transforms ordinary moments captured primarily on Polaroid film into layered and complex expressions of memories, experiences, and emotions. These multilayered compositions stand as heartfelt tributes to the intricate mosaic of connections in their life, from cherished friends to significant life events. Edson’s art invites viewers to transcend the superficial and engage with the depth of human relationships and personal journeys. Edson lives in Jamaica Plain, MA, and earned a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2015.  They have exhibited their work widely, in Boston and beyond, including recent shows at Gallery VERY and the Distillery Gallery in Boston and Shoe Bones Gallery in Salem, MA.  

Tarik Bartel’s works are the culmination of a seven-year-long practice of bearing witness to their community. Their photography functions as an act of attunement, of radical care and vulnerability, of pouring their community onto paper and pixel. Bartel is a trans and non-binary Thai-American artist based in Providence, RI.  They are a photographer, an award-winning filmmaker, and a spoken word poet and have worked as an arts educator, a youth worker, and a community organizer in the Greater Boston area since 2014. In 2016, they co-founded the Boston-based art collective ANGRY ASIAN GIRLS, a collaborative project centered on radical liberation and youth-centered community work.