‘IT WAS THE TIPPING POINT.’ HOW A BLACK ARTIST’S ACT OF PROTEST CHALLENGED MUSEUM CULTURE. To the late songstress and civil rights activist Nina Simone, the role of an artist was quite clear: “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times,” she once told an interviewer. Although filmed decades ago, Simone’s words feel especially prescient in 2020 as the country grapples with its history of racism.
It is under these circumstances that Johanne Rahaman, a Miami-based photographer of Trinidadian descent, felt moved to pull her exhibit on the historical contributions of Florida’s Black workers from the HistoryMiami Museum before it was unveiled. She publicly severed ties with the museum in late July. “These images need to be respected and honored in spaces that are reflective of the communities I photograph,” Rahaman said.