The Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard) and the Human Rights Project announced today that Ama Josephine B. Johnstone has been selected as the seventh recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism. Her appointment is made possible by the Keith Haring Foundation as part of the second series of a five year-grant supporting the Fellowship — an annual award for a scholar, activist, or artist to teach and conduct research at Bard College. Johnstone’s appointment marks the shared commitment of the College and the Foundation both to exploring the interaction between political engagement and artistic practices and to bringing leading practitioners from around the world into Bard’s classrooms.
“The Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism is an ongoing dialogue with leading artists, writers and scholars, bringing new modes of thinking, pedagogical models and ways of working into the Bard community. International in scope, the Fellowship continues to evolve, raising issues that are current and introducing innovative responses to the challenges of the present,” said Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.
Ama Josephine B. Johnstone is a speculative writer, artist, curator and pleasure activist whose work navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyze human rights, environmental evolutions and queer identities. Johnstone is a PhD candidate in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. She describes her research as taking “a queer, decolonial approach to challenging climate colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on inherently environmentalist pleasure practices in Ghana and across the Black universe.”
“Ama says that her work ‘thrives in the fecund liminal spaces between the museum and the academy, the gallery and the protest,’ and in this sense, among many others, she exemplifies the spirit and practice of Keith Haring. Her fearless creativity, coupled with her relentless critical curiosity, especially about human rights discourse itself, are going to be essential guides in any journey through our perilous times,” said Thomas Keenan, director of Bard’s Human Rights Project.
Johnstone will be in residence at Bard during the Spring 2021 semester to teach and develop local collaborations in the Hudson Valley, succeeding Pelin Tan as the 2019-20 Fellow.