Call for Papers: On the Edge of Visibility – An International Symposium in partnership with AWARE and Pérez Art Museum Miami

WOPHA / 04.09.2023

WOPHA and AWARE: Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions in partnership with Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), welcome submissions for On the Edge of Visibility – An International Symposium focused on Black and Indigenous women* and non-binary artists, with special focus on photographic practices** within three broad geographical zones: Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States.

Offering a transcontinental approach and encompassing postcolonial, feminist, and queer perspectives, this symposium considers the concerns and complexities of defining what it means to be a Black or Indigenous woman artist within different cultural settings. It will also constitute a reflection on past and current modes of knowledge creation.

By exploring the notions of visibility and invisibility as they relate to visual practices and dominant power structures, this symposium aims to examine proposed strategies of resistance as a means of reclaiming visual agency. It will therefore seek to challenge existing academic boundaries – notably within the history of art and photography – through a multiplicity of voices and perspectives, questioning contemporary discourses and their genealogies, and considering the future of the discipline.

Bringing together artists, researchers, curators, and thinkers, this international gathering will be structured around three thematic sections:

The first section, Fractals of Invisibility, will question the historical and structural reasons for the exclusion of Black and Indigenous women and non-binary artists from art historical narratives. It will examine invisibility as an intersectional phenomenon rooted in colonial and contemporary history. The second section, Politics of Visibility, will examine what strategies are effective in gaining institutional recognition and achieving socio-political goals. This section will simultaneously question the creation and replication of stereotyped representations of these artists within the dominant discourse. Finally, the third section, Poetics of Opacity, will focus on the notion of opacity, as theorized by philosopher and poet Edouard Glissant, understood as an impenetrable alterity that cannot be possessed, an epistemological notion that grants everyone the right to keep their psycho-cultural selves. Symposium contributions derived from a critique of visibility and transparency, with considerable input from recent feminist and queer theories, will examine the potential of this concept as an alternative to Western ways of understanding, representing, and recognizing Black and Indigenous women and non-binary artists. 

1. Fractals of Invisibility

  • What different fundamental societal impediments do Black and Indigenous artists face?
  • How has colonial history impacted the institutional recognition of their work?
  • How has art history contributed to the invisibilization of some practices while fostering others?
  • What are the obstacles and resistances to recognizing these photographers today? 
  • What role did family, community, multi- and intergenerational archival practices play in the maintenance and transmission of these artists’ work?

2. Politics of Visibility

  • What does it mean to achieve institutional visibility? 
  • What strategies can be implemented to challenge current academic and art historical frameworks?
  • What is the role of the collective in fostering institutional recognition?
  • How can photography help to achieve social and political goals?

3. Poetics of opacity

  • What are the complexities of being visible as a Black or Indigenous woman or non-binary artist across these geographies? 
  • What risks arise from over-exposure and hypervisibility? 
  • How does (in)visibility relate to power? 
  • What tactics of opacity exist? How can it be a source of visual agency and sovereignty? 

*Woman is used in this context for a person, who regardless of their gender assigned at birth, identifies as a woman. 

**Photographic practices include but are not limited to creating images with or without cameras, automated and computational processes, augmented photography, and collecting, archiving, or circulating images.

Interested participants are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 400 words, along with a CV, to by April 23rd, 2023. Accepted participants will be notified in May 2023.

This symposium is organized within the context of “The Origin of Others: Rewriting Art History in the Americas” program led by AWARE: Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions. The program title references the series of essays by the author Toni Morrison, published in 2017.

About AWARE: Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions

AWARE: Archives of Women Artists, Research & Exhibitions is a non-profit organization co-founded by art historian Camille Morineau in 2014 that works towards making women artists of the 19th and 20th century visible by producing and sharing free bilingual (French/English) content about their work on its website. This online resource presently contains more than 1,000 biographical texts and draws up to 75,000 visits per month. AWARE represents a diversity of voices with texts written by around 450 researchers, curators, feminist art historians, art critics, and activists from all over the world. To widely disseminate research on women artists, AWARE also organizes symposia, round tables, and seminars in collaboration with institutions, universities, museums, and other independent structures internationally, and edits its own publications. AWARE is located at the Villa Vassilieff (in Paris’ 15th district), where artist Marie Vassilieff set up her studio in the 1910s. Within this strongly symbolic space, AWARE has created a research centre entirely devoted to women artists and feminist art, and hosts events, talks and school workshops.

About Pérez Art Museum Miami 

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), led by Director Franklin Sirmans, promotes artistic expression and the exchange of ideas, advancing public knowledge and appreciation of art, architecture, and design, and reflecting the diverse community of its pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas. The 39-year-old South Florida institution, formerly known as Miami Art Museum (MAM), opened a new building, designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, on December 4, 2013 in Downtown Miami’s Maurice A. Ferré Park. The facility is a state-of-the-art model for sustainable museum design and progressive programming and features 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor program space with flexible galleries; shaded outdoor verandas; a waterfront restaurant and bar; a museum shop; and an education center with a library, media lab, and classroom spaces.

Return to News