Accra Shepp discusses his new book, Radical Justice: Lifting Every Voice with artist and activist Dread Scott. Accra's book brings together two bodies of socially engaged photographic portraiture that document New York City’s Occupy Wall Street movement starting in 2011 and its racial justice/Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.
Working in the style of August Sander with a large format camera and black and white film, Accra Shepp pictures New Yorkers on their city's streets in acts of sit-ins and active protest, both unplanned and highly organized, independent and unified, to address notions of the 99% and 1%, which have come to define the American political vernacular. Bearing witness to defining events of the last decade that echo the United States' longer historical arch, Shepp's empathetic depictions of fellow citizens standing up for the Constitution's fair protection providing a prophetic mirror of current events, which reflects back centuries to where the American experiment began, to suggest where we'll find ourselves in the years to come.
Dread Scott is a visual artist whose works is exhibited across the US and internationally. In 1989, his art became the center of national controversy over its transgressive use of the American flag, while he was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. President G.H.W. Bush called his art “disgraceful” and the entire US Senate denounced and outlawed this work. Dread became part of a landmark Supreme Court case when he and others defied the federal law outlawing his art by burning flags on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. He has presented at TED talk on this.