The Jeffrey Ahn, Jr. Fellowship is pleased to announce that the 2019 Fellowship award has been granted to Grace Bryan.
Grace, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, proposes to spend her summer documenting and researching her family's history and how it has been shaped by perceptions and definitions of race. Grace will start her project by traveling to Gettysburg, PA to visit the reconstruction of the Civil War-era farm of one of her ancestors, Abraham Bryan. She will then travel to the British Museum in London to make a video with her father addressing African artifacts stolen during the African Diaspora. As she notes in her proposal, "The British Museum has been famously criticized for holding onto these artifacts, citing the degree and length of care as justification for rightful ownership." Finally, Grace will spend time at Duke University studying the categorizations and classifications of mixed race identities with Duke University psychologist Sarah Gaither.
In her winning proposal, Grace wrote, “My work aims to question others’ perception of racial identity. My father is African American and I am biracial, but I appear caucasian, and my identity troubles the sole reliance on skin color to categorize race. My projects ask what it means to be black when the world sees you as white. My work centers on my relation to my race through my father, research I have gathered to understand my identity, and reimagining how we consider racial identity."
Grace's work will ultimately materialize as an immersive mixed-media installation. She also hopes to create a publication documenting her research and travel.
Grace's proposal was chosen by a distinguished jury including Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ian Alteveer; gallerist Helena Anrather; photographer Antonio Bolfo; artist Ben Thorp Brown; artist Ian Cheng; Director, Frieze Art Fair, Nathan Clements-Gillespie; artist Meena Hasan; Associate Curator, Dia Art Foundation, Kelly Kivland; art dealer, Gracie Mansion; artist Rachel Rose; Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Xiaoyu Weng; and Editorial Director, David Zwriner Books, Lucas Zwirner.