Winter Term: Torkwase Dyson and the Wynter-Wells Drawing School for Environmental Justice

Winter Term is a new annual initiative in which the museum partners with an artist or organization whose mission it is to explore the transformative role that drawing can play in civic and global society. The program, which consists of public events, classes, and performances, as well as an exhibition, endeavors to build a community of people to investigate the efficacy of drawing as a tool for addressing inequity and encouraging social change. In a world ever more in need of human connection and compassion, Winter Term asks how drawing, the most universal medium, might extend beyond the gallery space to provide concrete tools for collective engagement and collaboration. In this way, Winter Term provides a new model for exhibition making, as well as for the role that art institutions can play in the real world.

For the first session, from February 24 through March 11, 2018, The Drawing Center welcomes artist Torkwase Dyson to create an installation and organize a two-week series of classes, discussions, and formal experiments developed from her incipient project the Wynter-Wells Drawing School for Environmental Justice—named for Jamaican writer Sylvia Wynter and American Civil Rights leader Ida B. Wells. The School presents an experimental curriculum employing techniques culled from the visual arts as well as design theories of geography, infrastructure, engineering, and architecture to initiate dialogue about geography and spatiality in an era of global crisis due to human-induced climate change. Participation in each class is by application only (the afternoon sessions will be open to observation by the public). Drawings and sculptures by Dyson are on view throughout the program’s run and Dyson is available during select “office hours” to discuss her work and the school with the public.

During an open studio-style installation, Dyson explicates her own formal concept of “Black Compositional Thought” while terms such as improvisation, nomadicity, and re-orientation are applied to techniques within abstract drawing that confront issues of environmental justice and the path towards a more equitable future. Invited guests include architect and author Mario Gooden; curator Rujeko Hockley; artist and designer Ekene Ijeoma; designer, artist, and urbanist Ron Morrison; professor and author Christina Sharpe; and architect and author Mabel O. Wilson. In addition, artist Andres Luis Hernandez has created a drawing score to which artist Zachary Fabri has responded in movement. The result of their collaboration is documented in drawings and photography.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Class 1: Global Warming, Uneven Development and New Geographies: What is Global Warming? What is Climate Change? How are they different and what do they have to do with uneven development and geography? This class addresses these questions through drawing as it relates to time, motion, and transparency.

Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 6pm

Panel discussion on North African nomadic architecture and other models of self-emancipation through architecture and design. With Ekene Ijeoma, Ron Morrison, and Mabel O. Wilson. Moderated by Rujeko Hockley.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Class 2: Architecture and Liquidity: What types of energy are available to us and why should we diversify and use less? This class investigates diverse sources of energy and their site-specific pros and cons. As a drawing project, it considers hydroelectric power and gravitational potential energy as a way to examine state changes in matter and liquid. In addition, it uses the fundamental logic of elevation drawing to think through the science of water and the way in which it shapes space.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

This class is co-taught by Andres Luis Hernandez.

Class 3: Nomadicity, Movement, and Improvisation: At a time when mass migration due to the effects of climate change is a critical question, artist and designer Andres L. Hernandez guides the class through drawing as an interpretative act of movement. Following Hernandez, Dyson holds a post activity discussion about nomadicity, movement, and improvisation inspired by the topic of self-emancipation through nomadic architecture, particularly that of North Africa. At the end of the day, the class is asked to respond by exploring the notion of the perfect curve while listening to a playlist created by DJ Jet Toomer.

Organized by Claire Gilman, Chief Curator

Exhibition Materials


Past Programs

Related Exhibitions