Published On: Thu, Nov 2nd, 2023

Deborah Jack recipient of Soros Arts Fellowship

PHILIPSBURG — St. Maarten-born artist Deborah Jack is one of eighteen recipients of a 2023 Soros Arts Fellowship from the New York-based Open Society Foundations that comes with a grant of $100,000.

Jack received the fellowship for her project To make a map of my memory, wayfinding along synaptic topographies. The project links cultural memory preservation in St. Maarten with climate justice through an archive of oral histories, a connected film and multimedia installation.

On its website the Open Societies Foundations describe Jack as a multidisciplinary artist whose work includes video installations, photography and text. “Her practice engages a variety of strategies for mining the intersections of histories, cultural memory, ecology and climate change.”

She exhibited her work at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago and (this fall) the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston and the Pen + Brush art gallery in New York City. Her work is in the collections of the MCA Chicago and the Smith College Museum of Art.

In 2021 Jack received a Nancy Graves Grant for visual artists. In 2023 she became a Changing Climate Resident at the Santa Fe Art Institute and a Surf Point Foundation Artist in Residence.

Jack is currently professor of art at New Jersey City University.

To Make A Map of My Memory: Wayfinding Along Synaptic Topographies centers the experiences of communities in small island nations bearing the brunt of climate disasters. Jack will combine voices and recollections from elders in St. Maarten with archival imagery, vernacular photography, and present-day images of the changed landscape to create a poetic documentary project.

With To Make a Map of My Memory, Jack underscores the importance of preserving these intangible histories and advocates for the value of island consciousness as a counter—and cure—to the extractive nature of landlocked continental forces.


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