Duron Jackson: The Missing
An Interactive, Collaborative Project
November 18, 2017–January 13, 2018
Opening Reception
Saturday November 18, 2–5pm

Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the November 18, 2017, opening of Duron Jackson: The Missing, an exhibition that confronts the reality of mass incarceration in America. The exhibition challenges viewers to consider the impact of mass incarceration on vulnerable communities, as well as the entire country. “As Aljira enters its 35th year in Newark, it’s important that we continue to be a platform for artists of all backgrounds to present meaningful work that reflects the major issues of the day. Duron Jackson’s interest in social justice is aligned with Aljira’s mission to promote inclusiveness, diversity and cross-cultural dialog,” states Aljira’s Executive Director, Dexter Wimberly.

Duron Jackson is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice combines academic and artistic research. He uses installation, photography, video archives, and objects to create new perspectives on dominant historical narratives. Jackson states that his exhibition, The Missing, “is inspired by a 2015 New York Times article that detailed the 1.5 million Black men who are literally missing from civic life due to early death or incarceration.” (Link to 3-minute artist interview: https://vimeo.com/236183716)

An interactive and collaborative project, The Missing begins at Aljira as an art exhibition but becomes much more, as artists, students and the broader Newark community join Duron Jackson in sharing their stories of family and friends affected by mass incarceration. A community partner press conference, scheduled to take place at Shine Portrait Studio in Newark at 3pm on Wednesday November 29, 2017, will include presentations by New Jersey ACLU, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Shine Portrait Studio, and Duron Jackson, among others.

The timely subject matter, mass incarceration, is of both local and national consequence. The United States is the biggest jailer on the planet, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population but nearly 25 percent of its prisoners. Another 7 million Americans are either on probation or on parole. Operating federal and state prisons, including local jails, is generally calculated to cost the U.S. government, and therefore taxpayers, about $80 billion a year. Recent studies examining the economic toll of mass incarceration in the United States conclude that the full cost exceeds $1 trillion ― with about half of that burden falling on the families, children and communities of people who have been imprisoned, and ultimately removed from civic life.

Aljira’s presentation of The Missing has been partially supported by The Kenneth Aidekman Family Foundation, Nina and Ted Wells, Shine Portrait Studio and Express Newark: a university – community collaboratory which receives funding from Rutgers University – Newark, the Prudential Foundation, Bank of America, PSE&G, Panasonic, and the Kresge Foundation.

“I’m thrilled that Shine Portrait Studio is working with Aljira to foster Duron Jackson’s multimedia and portrait based public art project, The Missing. Shine’s mission is to facilitate and support the expression and self-representation of the various communities of Newark, NJ and Duron’s artist-in-residency is supported by guiding equity for local creatives, educational opportunities for Rutgers University-Newark students, as well as being deeply engaged throughout the city beyond the walls of Express Newark. From dots on dominoes to the stories of individual people, Duron creates compelling portraits of people’s absence and presence in our lives, and does so without exposing or sensationalizing them in opportunistic ways,” states Nick Kline, Associate Professor, Photography Founder/Director, Shine Portrait Studio Department of Arts, Culture & Media at Rutgers University Newark.

About Duron Jackson

Duron Jackson is Brooklyn-based multi-disciplinary artist born in Harlem, New York. He received his MFA in Sculpture at Bard College, Milton Avery School of Art. Jackson is a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Fulbright research fellowship, granted by the U.S. State Department for creative research in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, where he was concurrently artist in residence at Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia. Modern Painters magazine listed Jackson as one of the 100 artists to watch for 2012, the same year he was awarded Brooklyn Museum’s Raw/Cooked solo exhibition sponsored by Bloomberg Media.

Image Credits, top to bottom:
Duron Jackson, Ringmaster, 7 ft. x 20 ft., 2009
Duron Jackson: The Missing, video on Vimeo
Duron Jackson: Bones Crusade, dominos and birch, 72 x 72 x 13 inches, 2013. Courtesy of Aljira
Duron Jackson. Photo credit: Rodolfo Diaz Gonzalez