A collage of photos

“All I Do Is Grind: A Ballad For George Orwell” by Felicia Megginson.

Photo by Olivia Falcigno

Arts & Culture

‘Nine Moments for Now’ offers timely inspiration

Cooper Gallery brings artists together to inspire civic discussion

3 min read

In a time when talk of losing  — losing lives, losing political battles, losing rights — can overwhelm the national conversation, “Nine Moments for Now,” an exhibition at Harvard’s Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art at the Hutchins Center, explores the question: “What does winning look like?”

The activist DeRay Mckesson raised the question during a 2015 Hutchins Forum, and it has stayed with exhibition curator Dell Marie Hamilton ever since. In the age of #BlackLivesMatter, #TimesUp, and the current administration, answering it felt urgent, she said.

“We hope that this exhibition enables us all to slow down long enough to remember that democracy, time, and memory are as poetic, unruly, and fragile as body and breath,” she noted.

The exhibition, which features 34 artists and 106 pieces of art, is part of For Freedoms’ 50 State initiative, a nonpartisan campaign that uses art to inspire civic participation and is “the largest creative collaboration in our nation’s history,” according to its website.

Hamilton says the exhibition, which had one of the biggest openings the Cooper Gallery has ever had, is also an opportunity for artists, thinkers, and writers to create meaningful responses to social engagement and political discourse.

“Nine Moments for Now” will be on view until Jan. 21. The gallery, located at 102 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, is open Tuesday through Saturday. It will be closed from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day. To find out more about the exhibition, visit the Cooper Gallery website.

Two pieces by Ekua Holmes, “Idyll of the South: Root of Jesse,” (2016), and “Idyll of the South: Portrait of Aunt Mary,” (2018), are pictured in the gallery. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Exhibition curator Dell Marie Hamilton pictured in front of “BlackSunsetComing” by Marlon Forrester (left). “Pack Our Things,” (2018) by Elisa Hamilton (right) is on display in the gallery.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Black and white photo of woman crying
Photographs from the funerals of Freddie Gray (2015), Emmett Till (1955), and Michael Brown (2014) are on display in the gallery. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

“There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.”

James A. Baldwin’s words welcome guests to the gallery
“Black Studies” (far right) by Harry Hacker. Photo by Olivia Falcigno
“A homage to Hank Willis Thomas and the For Freedoms Project, Ms. Merri Mack” (left). “Doll and Ms. Merri Mack” (middle) both by Karmimadeebora McMillan. Photo by Olivia Falcigno