Artist Rhinold Lamar Ponder will display his latest work in a two-day exhibition, entitled “The Rise and Fail of the N-Word: Beyond Black and White” at the Carl Field Center at Princeton University on May 23rd-24th. There will be and wine and cheese artist’s reception on May 23rd from 6 to 9 and an artist discussion on May 24th from 2 to 4.
Mr. Ponder is an accomplished local artist whose work has been exhibited in public and private shows in New York, Chicago and throughout New Jersey. Mr. Ponder’s latest works focus on the challenge we face in efforts to discuss racial issues in public. According to the artist, at the heart of our collective dysfunction is the word “Nigger,” the phrase “the N-word” and the fictional concept of race, all of which embody our struggle to agree on a common public language to foster better communication.
“Our inability to discuss race honestly and productively in this country is reflected in the lack of a public language or vocabulary. The prime example of our communication dysfunction is reflected in our behavior, attitudes and emotions around the “N-word,” the actual “unprintable” word not the substitute phrase,” said Mr. Ponder. “This show is designed to provide a visual prompt to create a safe place for difficult and honest discussions about race. Here, it begins with challenging our vocabulary and our need to accept the varied cultural perspectives brought to what must become an emotionally mature dialogue.”
“The Rise and Fail of The N-Word,” includes poetry written specifically for the show by a variety of poets, including an American Book Award winner, a popular female rap artist and an emerging British poet; a film collaboration with Princeton graduate Steve Williams and his son Drew Williams; a data visualization experiment; and a topical mix tape by former Princeton DJ Gary Jenkins, who once testified in court in favor of dropping a racial bias charge against a white man who beat a black man while using the N-word, a slang that was commonly used in his mostly black friend group.
In addition to 12 new works by Mr. Ponder, the exhibit includes art pieces by 15 graphic artists from around the world. According to Mr. Ponder, these works reflect the different attitudes about race and the N-Word worldwide.
“I am thrilled to include some of my very talented friends in this project. They were more than willing to take the challenge, in part because the arts are such a healing and bonding force and we all know that we cannot move forward on any issue if we are all speaking different unshared languages and allowing our pain to cause us to reject understanding different perspectives,” said Mr. Ponder
The Carl Field Center is located at 58 Prospect Avenue on the Princeton University campus. The show hours are 5 – 9:30 on Friday, May 23rd and 12 to 6 on Saturday, May 24th. For more information, call (609) 651-6250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.