Loading Events

Alan Ostrow Memorial Talk: Black Photographers in Portland 

Mar 24, 2024
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
1119 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR
Kridel Grand Ballroom
General Accessibility

In honor of the historic Black Artists of Oregon exhibition, The Alan Ostrow Memorial talk closes the show with a panel discussion that centers Black photographic practices in the Portland area. Join curator and photographer, Intisar Abioto, for a moderated discussion that examines the importance of Black image-making in rectifying historic narratives and affirming Black communal legacies with artists Richard Brown, mia charnelle, Kelly Ruthe Johnson and AnAkA Morris. 

This program does not include general Museum admissions.

This endowed biennial lecture series was established with funds donated by Ed and Sue Cooley in memory of Alan Ostrow, who died in 1984. The series aims to highlight artists and other creative thinkers working in photo-based practices.   

Panelist Bios

Born in Harlem in 1939, Richard Brown joined the Air Force at age seventeen. After twenty years of service, during which he lived everywhere from Texas to Germany to the Philippines, Mr. Brown landed in Portland, Oregon, where he began taking pictures for a local paper. Through his pictures, he met so many people and learned of the many challenges facing Portland’s Black community. At some point, he set down his camera and started talking. And as his friends like to say: once he started talking, he never shut up.

Over the years, Mr. Brown has worked just about every issue affecting Black Portlanders. He’s fought for fair housing and against forced bussing, for equity in arts funding and against environmental racism, and above all, he has worked to bridge the gap between the Black community and Portland police. He sees his community as a yardstick, with police at zero inches and Black people at thirty-six. For years, he’s been standing strong at eighteen inches, and he has no plans to move.  

AnAkA is a holistic world builder, story doula, film director, photographer and creator of Angel Music. As a gender fluid Afro-Indigenous person, AnAkA is focused on reclaiming ancestral memory and holistically empowering those preserving their own cultural wisdoms. AnAkA is the founder of AKTIV8 Creative Research Center, a sacred wisdom movement focused on strengthening the heartbeat of the global Indigenous movements and rituals of our current time. For more than ten years, AnAkA has been documenting liberation movements, healers, artists and revolutionaries across North America, South & Central America, Africa and the Caribbean. She has also cultivated worlds, films and creative productions for clients such as Nike, Janelle Monáe, Chief Adjuah (FKA Christian Scott), FKA twigs, Vogue, WeTransfer and Levi’s. AnAkA has shown works at The Shed NY, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Chale Wote Festival, Lagos Photo Festival, the Portland Art Museum, and has curated solo shows in Cape Town, New York, Paris and Los Angeles. As a co-founder of Black Oregon Land Trust, AnAkA is focused on land and natural healing justice as a certified herbal physician and full circle doula. Through this work, AnAkA advocates for the rights of artists and healers desiring the freedom to exchange wisdom in sovereign modalities.

mia (my-uh) charnelle is a Photographer, Wardrobe Stylist, Creative Director, Disability Scholar-Activist, Instructor, and cinephile. An artist from Northeast Portland, Oregon, that is currently based in L.A. Their work employs Black visual aesthetics and portraiture to critically explore blackness, disability, gender, sexuality, and fatness. When space and time allow, they enjoy a deep dive into Black popular culture, cinematography, and nap time.

As a photographer, Kelly Johnson maintained consistency and persistence, transitioning from a full-time photojournalist to a published author of books, including self-published works. Johnson’s latest book, “Gratitude,” is a feast for the eyes and soul—a beautiful journey with glorious flowers paired with lovely and powerful words of wisdom from her mother. Johnson’s children’s books, “Hair Dance” (2007) and “Look at the Baby” (2002), were published by Henry Holt New York. “Hair Dance” is being re-issued in June 2024, followed by an exhibit at Arrowood Gallery in July in Portland, Oregon. Currently, she is selling books, fine art, and notecards on her website kellyruthejohnson.com and amazon.com, and showcasing work on social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook (handle: KellyRutheJohnson). With twelve solo photographic exhibitions and participation in three group shows, Johnson continues to forge ahead. While her path as a photographer may appear subtle, her dedication remains steadfast. In her photojournalism days, Johnson captured notable figures like  Michael Jordan, President Bill Clinton, Shirley Chisholm, Madonna, Jesse Jackson, Carl Bernstein, and the beautiful citizens of Portland, Oregon. Johnson’s lens has documented diverse subjects. While her initial focus was on photographing children, her current passion lies in capturing the beauty of flowers and landscapes.