Bernice, Louisiana (population 1,809) Town Council, May 14, 2002
Archival pigment print
24 x 9 inches
Signed on the recto
Edition 11 of 15
Donated by the artist
Taken from his Meetings series, this photograph is part of Paul Shambroom’s long–term investigation of power in the United States. A common thread that runs through this series is a drive to understand and illuminate seemingly overwhelming and abstract power systems. Emphasizing the theatricality of many of these meetings, Shambroom highlights aspects of seating arrangement, clothing, and body language, providing clues to local cultural traits and political dynamics. Shambroon is a Guggenheim Fellow and a Creative Capital grantee. His work has been collected and exhibited by museums including the San Francisco MoMA, MoMA (NY), and the Walker Art Center.
“This is a photograph of democracy at work. Every day in small towns and big cities across this country, governing bodies convene to make decisions impacting the lives of their constituents. To me this picture of council members sitting through a seemingly-mundane meeting, depicts potentially life-changing action. The past weeks and months have left many people wondering what they can do to affect positive change. For some this takes the form of protesting in the streets, for others seeking an elected seat. Neither is better nor sufficient. Shambroom’s photograph reminds us that positive collective action and community building can happen in a nondescript conference room too.” - Dan Leers, Curator of Photography, Carnegie Museum of Art
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