DISCUSSION: Aperture Photographs
February 9, 2018
NMU faculty and community members discuss the historical, social and cultural backgrounds of several photographs on display in the exhibition. The discussion was led by Emily Lanctot (museum curator of collections and outreach).
Lali Khalid (photographer & co-founder of The Creative House)
Patricia Killelea (assistant professor of English, NMU)
Lesley Larkin (associate professor, English, NMU)
Tracy Wascom (assistant professor, Art & Design, NMU).
About the panelists and moderator
Emily Lanctot is the Curator of Collections and Outreach at NMU's DeVos Art Museum. She is also a Contingent Assistant Professor at NMU’s School of Art and Design where she has been teaching since 2010. Lanctot received a B.F.A. in Drawing and Painting from Northern Michigan University and an M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Studio Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Lanctot’s work has been shown in museums and galleries across the U.S. She works across media to examine cultural rituals and practices embedded in the everyday. Her work employs language to explore themes of identity, memory, the archive, and ideas surrounding place - including the human relationship to nature, public architecture, and domestic space.
Mehreen, or Lali, Khalid grew up in Pakistan. Her father introduced her to photography at a very young age. She has been taking pictures ever since. Lali’s work wanders between themes in landscape, abstraction and documentary photography, but has always centered itself on portraiture. She uses her work as a tool to explore themes of diaspora, identity, family and home in her own life and the lives of people she photographs. Her images depict and document cultural and private conflicts, as well as emotive effects of natural light, through quiet, narrative allusions. Lali earned her BFA from The National College of Arts in Lahore, and her MFA with distinction from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Her work has been shown in many galleries throughout Pakistan, Europe and the US. She currently lives and works in the United States where she also maintains an active teaching practice.
Patricia Killelea is the author of the poetry collection Other Suns (Swan Scythe Press) and her second book, Counterglow, is a forthcoming title from Urban Farmhouse Press. She is also an experimental filmmaker, and her poetry films have been featured in Atticus Review, Poetry Film Live and Moving Poems; her films have been screened and short-listed at the O Bhéal International Poetry Film Festival (2017), and long-listed for the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival (2016). She holds a Ph.D. in Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis, and a Master's degree in Creative Writing, also from UC Davis. She is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Northern Michigan University.
Lesley Larkin earned a Ph.D. with distinction from the Department of English at the University of Washington in 2007 and taught there and at Seattle Pacific University before joining the NMU faculty in 2008. Dr. Larkin’s areas of expertise include American literature (1865-present), African American literature, American ethnic literatures, race and gender studies, reading and reception theory, and intersections among literature, science, and medicine. Her first book, Race and the Literary Encounter: Black Literature from James Weldon Johnson to Percival Everett (2015), traces the strategies developed by modern and contemporary black writers to challenge, model, and theorize modes of reading race. Dr. Larkin is currently working on a second book, tentatively titled Reading in the Postgenomic Age, which explores how contemporary U.S. and Canadian narratives engage rearticulations of race, gender, and humanness prompted by genomic research.
While no discrete moment marks its outset, Tracy Wascom has been engaged in the arts for almost as long as she can remember; whether utilizing photography, computers, video, drawing, or traditional sculpting techniques. Her practice is driven by the desire to explore the myriad edges we use to define and demarcate our world–from our moral and ethical boundaries to the geography of maps. She enjoys investigating the ways we designate and divide beauty from ugliness, right from wrong, truth from fiction, dangerous from safe, even here from there by borders that seem clear but are often more deliciously ambiguous. Wascom earned her BFA in Art from the University of Louisiana Lafayette and her MFA in Photography from Syracuse University. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums across the United States and more recently in Budapest. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Foundations and Art History at Northern Michigan University.