What is an artistic practice of human rights? That is the driving question of an upcoming UChicago summit, in which distinguished international artists will explore how the arts can address some of the world’s most important human rights problems—from criminal justice to refugee crises.The summit, to be held on April 29 and May 1, will be a chance for a diverse group of artists to share their practices and frame new conversations around myriad human rights issues. It is co-presented by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, the Logan Center for the Arts and the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights.
“We wanted to look at artists as practitioners,” said Mark Bradley, faculty director for the Pozen Center, professor of history and one of the curators of the summit. “The artists who are coming don’t necessarily know each other well. Our hope is, as they are talking back and forth, we will identify issues and forms of practice that have viability moving forward.”
A range of artistic mediums and political issues will be on display at the summit through the work of artists from Argentina, Nigeria, Cuba, Palestine and the United States. Carlos Javier Ortiz is a film director and visual artist from the U.S. who looks at urban life in America and the struggles of marginalized communities. He will be sharing two short documentaries: We All We Got, his 2014 film chronicling youth violence in Chicago and Philadelphia, and a new film detailing the 20th century migration of African Americans from the south to the north. Ortiz is excited for the opportunity to meet with fellow artists.
“Sometimes it’s a lonely journey when you’re working, so having a group of people to sit down with and talk about our practice is basically a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ortiz said. “You really don’t often get to break …