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Left to right: John Sims, Freedom Memorial at Gamble Plantation, 2020. 7:00 min. video animation with sound; John Sims, AfroConfederate Flag: 12 Foot, 2020. Nylon; John Sims, Freedom Memorial Marker, 2020. Latex paint on synthetic material. All works Courtesy of the artist.

Left to right: John Sims, Freedom Memorial at Gamble Plantation, 2020. 7:47 min. Video animation with sound; John Sims, AfroConfederate Flag: 12 Foot, 2020. Nylon; John Sims, Freedom Memorial Marker, 2020. Latex paint on synthetic material. All works courtesy of the artist. Installation view of Marking Monuments exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. Photo: Will Lytch.

Marking Monuments

January 22 – March 6, 2021
USF Contemporary Art Museum Lee and Victor Leavengood Gallery + Online

Marking Monuments is curated by Sarah Howard, USF Curator of Public Art and Social Practice; and organized by the USF Contemporary Art Museum. 

CAM Galleries Will Be Open for USF Faculty, Staff, and Students - Reservations Required 

<Download Press Release

 

ONLINE EXHIBITION

Exhibition Home   //   Essay by Sarah Howard   //   Foreword + Acknowledgements
Ariel René Jackson   //   Joiri Minaya   //   Karyn Olivier in collaboration with Trapeta B. Mayson   //   John Sims   //   Monument Lab

 

John Sims, Freedom Memorial at Gamble Plantation, 2020. Video animation with sound. 7:47 min. Courtesy of the artist.

John Sims, Freedom Memorial at Gamble Plantation, 2020. 7:47 min. video animation with sound. Courtesy of the artist. Installation View of Marking Monuments exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. Photo: Will Lytch.

John Sims, Freedom Memorial at Gamble Plantation, 2020. 7:47 min. Video animation with sound. Courtesy of the artist. Installation view of Marking Monuments exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. Photo: Will Lytch.

John Sims, Freedom Memorial Marker, 2020. Latex paint on synthetic material. Courtesy of the artist. Installation View of Marking Monuments exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. Photo: Will Lytch.

John Sims, Freedom Memorial Marker, 2020. Latex paint on synthetic material. Courtesy of the artist. Installation view of Marking Monuments exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. Photo: Will Lytch.

Installation View of Marking Monuments exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. Left: John Sims. Right: Karyn Olivier. Photo: Will Lytch.

Installation view of Marking Monuments exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. Left: John Sims. Right: Karyn Olivier. Photo: Will Lytch.

Installation View of Marking Monuments exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. Left: Joiri Minaya. Right: John Sims. Photo: Will Lytch.

Installation view of Marking Monuments exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. Left: Joiri Minaya. Right: John Sims. Photo: Will Lytch.

Installation view of Marking Monuments installed at USFCAM. Photo: Will Lytch.

Installation view of Marking Monuments exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. Photo: Will Lytch.

John Sims, Freedom Memorial at Gamble Plantation, 2020 

Freedom Memorial at Gamble Plantation reimagines the former sugarcane slave plantation and Florida State Park in Ellenton, Florida, as a memorial to the enslaved. Engaging in the ongoing cultural dialogue and movement to dismantle toxic symbols of white supremacy and institutionalized racism around the globe, Sims’s proposal for Gamble Plantation is part of a larger call to action to repeal state laws protecting and celebrating Confederate heritage and iconography. Challenging the narrative and romanticization of a Confederate legacy, Sims presents new memorials, markers and symbols to shift the site’s commemorative focus, transforming the site as a space for healing and reconciliation. The flyover animation features a renamed plantation site (currently named for a confederate officer who briefly took refuge at the site before fleeing the country); an obelisk inscribed with the names of the last enslaved people to work and live at Gamble Plantation; an AfroConfederate flag, which reclaims and transforms the Confederate symbol with the colors of the Pan-African movement; and a recontextualized historical marker to honor the plantation’s enslaved Africans and their descendants.

John Sims, Freedom Memorial at Gamble Plantation, 2020. STILL. video animation with sound. 7:00 min. Courtesy of the artist.

Stil from John Sims, Freedom Memorial at Gamble Plantation, 2020. Video animation with sound. 7:47 min. Courtesy of the artist.

About John Sims

John Sims (b. 1968) is a Detroit native and Sarasota-based artist, writer and social justice activist whose interdisciplinary creative practice expands to installation, text, film, music and performance projects. Informed by mathematics, design theory, sacred symbols and the power of poetic and political text, Sims has been actively challenging white supremacy and confronting Confederate iconography and commemoration for the past two decades through long-term multimedia projects, annual public performances, and political op-eds. Sims is currently the 2020-21 Artist in Residence at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (Sarasota, FL). His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, NBC News, USA Today, NPR, The Guardian, ThinkProgress, Al Jazeera, Art in America, Hyperallergic, Sculpture, Science News, Nature, and Scientific American. He has written for CNN, Al Jazeera, The HuffPost, Guernica Magazine, The Rumpus and theGrio.

 

 

Marking Monuments is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Stanton Storer Embrace the Arts Foundation, IRA Initiatives for Social Justice Fund, USFCAM Art for Community Engagement (ACE) Fund, the Lee and Victor Leavengood Endowment, and the Florida Department of State.