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GATHER: Conversations led by Black and Indigenous Change-makers in Suffolk County
GATHER is a celebration of the East End’s diversity, a recognition of fault and colonization, and, most importantly, an opportunity to build and implement new understandings. Devised specifically for community leaders, service workers, teachers, and developers, this series platforms the voices and experiences of various BIPOC scholars, artists, and leaders, providing both lessons on our past histories, and strategies and examples of how to progress forward together.
Join in one or all four conversations led by Jeremy Dennis, artist and tribal member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, Anthony Madonna, Guild Hall’s Senior Associate for Learning and Public Engagement, and a rotating panel of historians, artists, and/or leaders of the East End, including Tela Troge, Courtney M. Leonard, Donnamarie Barnes, David Rattray, and Georgette Grier-Key. All sessions occur virtually over Zoom with an intimate group of 15–20 people, and include hands-on activities and briefs for a deeper connection to the topics discussed.
This series is produced as part of Guild Hall’s Student Art Festival 2021: Past-Present-Future. Proceeds from this series aid the education initiatives at Guild Hall of East Hampton, the development of Ma’s House & BIPOC Art Studio, and the institutions and artists involved.
Monday, January 25: On this Site with Jeremy Dennis & Tela Troge
Monday, February 1: The Art of Water with Courtney M. Leonard
Monday, February 8: Plain Sight Project with Donnamarie Barnes & David E. Rattray
Monday, February 15: Preservation and Community with Dr. Georgette Grier-Key
Jeremy Dennis (b. 1990) is a contemporary fine art photographer and a tribal member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton, NY. In his work, he explores indigenous identity, culture, and assimilation.
Dennis was one of 10 recipients of a 2016 Dreamstarter Grant from the national non-profit organization Running Strong for American Indian Youth. He was awarded $10,000 to pursue his project, On This Site, which uses photography and an interactive online map to showcase culturally significant Native American sites on Long Island, a topic of special meaning for Dennis, who was raised on the Shinnecock Nation Reservation. He also created a book and exhibition from this project. Most recently, Dennis received the Creative Bursar Award from Getty Images in 2018 to continue his series Stories.
In 2013, Dennis began working on the series, Stories—Indigenous Oral Stories, Dreams and Myths. Inspired by North American indigenous stories, the artist staged supernatural images that transform these myths and legends to depictions of an actual experience in a photograph.
Residencies: Yaddo (2019), Byrdcliffe Artist Colony (2017), North Mountain Residency, Shanghai, WV (2018), MDOC Storytellers’ Institute, Saratoga Springs, NY (2018). Eyes on Main Street Residency & Festival, Wilson, NC (2018), Watermill Center, Watermill, NY (2017) and the Vermont Studio Center hosted by the Harpo Foundation (2016).
He has been part of several group and solo exhibitions, including Stories—Dreams, Myths, and Experiences, for The Parrish Art Museum’s Road Show (2018), Stories, From Where We Came, The Department of Art Gallery, Stony Brook University (2018); Trees Also Speak, Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College at Old Westbury, NY (2018); Nothing Happened Here, Flecker Gallery at Suffolk County Community College, Selden, NY (2018); On This Site: Indigenous People of Suffolk County, Suffolk County Historical Society, Riverhead, NY (2017); Pauppukkeewis, Zoller Gallery, State College, PA (2016); and Dreams, Tabler Gallery, Stony Brook, NY (2012).
Dennis holds an MFA from Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, and a BA in Studio Art from Stony Brook University, NY.
He currently lives and works in Southampton, New York on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation.
Tela Loretta Troge
Tela Loretta Troge, Esq. is a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and a member of the Hassanamisco Nipmuc Tribe. She recently organized the Warriors of the Sunrise Sovereignty Camp 2020 in an attempt to raise awareness about the plight of the Shinnecock people. Tela graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with a Juris Doctor and certification in Indigenous Law and Policy from the Indigenous Law Program. She has been fighting for tribal sovereignty for the past 5 years as the attorney with the Law Offices of Tela L. Troge, PLLC.
Courtney M. Leonard
Courtney M. Leonard is a Shinnecock artist and filmmaker, whose work explores marine biology, Indigenous food sovereignty, migration, and human environmental impact. Leonard’s current projects articulate the multiple definitions of the term breach and investigate and document Indigenous communities’ historical ties to water, marine life, and native cultures of subsistence.
In collaboration with national and international museums, embassies, cultural institutions, and local Indigenous communities in North America, New Zealand, and Nova Scotia, Leonard’s practice centers narratives of cultural viability and the relationship between Indigenous people and the environmental record.
Leonard’s work is in the permanent collections of the United States Art in Embassies, the Crocker Art Museum, the Heard Museum, the ASU Art Museum and Ceramic Research Center, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Newark Museum, the Weisman Art Museum, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of the North, the Mystic Seaport Museum, the Pomona Museum of Art, the Hood Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Autry Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Leonard has been the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships, and residencies that include The Andy Warhol Foundation, The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Rasumon Foundation, The United States Art In Embassies Program, and The Native Arts and Culture Foundation.
Donnamarie Barnes has spent over thirty years working in the editorial photography field as a photographer and photo editor for publications such as People and Essence Magazines, and as an Editor at the Gamma Liaison photo agency. A life-long summer and full-time resident of the SANS Community in Sag Harbor, she curated a highly acclaimed historic tintype photography exhibition 2015 at the Eastville Community Historical Society entitled, “Collective Identity.”
Donnamarie began at Sylvester Manor in 2014 as a volunteer and history docent, and in 2016 joined the staff as Curator & Archivist. Over the past three years she has curated the exhibitions, “Women of the Manor,” “A Place in Pictures,” and “All That Has Been: Our Roots Revealed.” Her work uncovering the lives and identities of the enslaved and Indigenous people of Sylvester Manor is ongoing and is an integral part of the Manor’s mission to preserve, cultivate and share the stories of all the people of Sylvester Manor.
Plain Sight Project, Chair; Curator/Archivist Sylvester Manor Educational Farm
David Rattray is the owner and editor of The East Hampton Star. He is the fifth member of the Rattray family -- over three generations -- to serve as editor of The Star. He is a co-director of the Plain Sight Project study of slavery on Long Island, N.Y. In addition to journalism, he has a background in documentary filmmaking, museum development, and boatbuilding. He attended the Hampton Day School in Bridgehampton, N.Y. and graduated from East Hampton High School and Dartmouth College. His early jobs included summers as a busboy, an East Hampton Town lifeguard, an assistant caretaker on Gardiner's Island, selling fish, setting up party tents, making party rental deliveries, staffing the liquor checkout counter at a Cambridge, Mass., grocery store, and as a field archaeologist for the American Museum of Natural History. He was associate producer on the public television documentaries "The Hurricane of '38" and "Chicago 1968" for the American Experience and "Tabloid Truth" for Frontline. He worked for Design Division, a museum design firm in Manhattan, before returning to East Hampton in 1998 to work at The Star. He became its editor in 2003, succeeding his mother, Helen S. Rattray.
Dr. Georgette Grier-Key
Dr. Georgette Grier-Key, Ed.D, M.Ed. is the inaugural Executive Director and Chief Curator of Eastville Community Historical Society of Sag Harbor, NY, the President of the Association of Suffolk County Historical Societies, and Cultural Partner for Sylvester Manor of Shelter Island. She is one of the most outspoken advocates for the preservation and celebration of Long Island history with an emphasis on African American, Native-American and mixed-heritage historical reconstruction. As a founding member and lead organizer of the Pyrrhus Concer Action Committee, her work led to the rebuilding of the formerly enslaved Pyrrhus Concer’s homestead in Southampton’s Village.
Dr. Grier-Key is a full-time history and political science professor at SUNY Nassau Community College (NCC), where she created the new grant-funded History Institute and local history initiative. Most recently, she was elected to the 2019 class of board trustees for the Preservation League of New York State and the 2020 class of the board of directors of the Museum Association of New York. Dr. Grier-Key has been a guest curator at the Suffolk County Historical Society of Riverhead and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. She has delivered lectures at the CUNY Graduate Center, LIU Brooklyn, Hofstra University, and Suffolk County Community College. She serves on the Black History Commission of the Town of Brookhaven and their Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Committee and was awarded the Legacy Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Central Islip Branch.
Dr. Grier-Key contributes commentary regularly to local media outlets on Long Island, including Newsday, Sag Harbor Express, CBS New York, and News 12. Her research has been published in the Long Island History Journal and the Suffolk County Historical Society Register.