Art exhibition shines a ‘Lens on Black life’

Papillon & Company will host a Kamoinge Workshop exhibition, “From Harlem to Metuchen: Lens on Black Life.”

The members of this African American photographers collective will be sharing their experiences, conducting a photography workshop and exhibiting their work May 8 through June 30 in Papillon’s Metuchen store, located at 418 Main St.

“Art can build bridges and bring people together,” Edna Epelu, owner of Papillon & Company, said in a prepared statement. “I am delighted to bring the work of the Kamoinge Workshop to Metuchen.”

Kamoinge means “working together” in the language of the Kikuyu people of Kenya. The Kamoinge Workshop was established in New York City in 1963 and, since then, has been credited with changing the narrative of Black lives in the mainstream media, according to the statement.

Under their current president Adger Cowens, the members lecture, conduct seminars, teach in universities while working in fine art, portrait and commercial photography, photojournalism and motion pictures, according to the statement.

Prior to the group’s show in Metuchen, a retrospective of their work, “Working Together: Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop,” was on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City from 2020 through March.

The artists participating in the “Harlem to Metuchen: exhibition include Adger Cowans, Collette Fournier, Eli Reed, Gerald Cyrus, Jamel Shabazz, John Pinderhughes, Jules Allen, June Truesdale, Laylah Barrayan, Lola Flash, Mark Blackshear, Ron Herrard and Salimah Ali.

The Harlem to Metuchen exhibition has three components:

  • May 8: An opening of the exhibition to the public at 4 p.m. at Papillon & Company
  • May 13: A free/virtual panel discussion with the photographers about their careers and experiences.
  • May 22: A ticketed photography workshop.

To register for the opening, the free, virtual panel discussion, or to buy a ticket for the workshop, visit https://papillongifts.com/from-harlem-to-metuchen-kamoinge-workshop/ 

For more information, email basecampstudio67@gmail.com or call 732-762-5224.