Wallace Gallery - The Rising: A Photography Exhibition by Fiona Lee

Event date: 

Monday, September 28, 2020 (All day) to Wednesday, November 25, 2020 (All day)


The Rising Photo Exhibit at the SUNY Old Westbury Wallace Gallery



Virtual Exhibition

Amelie A. Wallace Gallery
SUNY College at Old Westbury
September 28 – November 25, 2020
Artist Talk: Fiona Lee:
October 7, 2020 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting https://suny-ow-edu.zoom.us/j/91834756944

The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery is pleased to share the virtual exhibition The Rising: A Photography Exhibition by Fiona Lee, which goes live on September 28, 2020. Fiona Lee (b. 1986), a recent alumna of the Visual Arts Department, SUNY College at Old Westbury, documented Black Lives Matter protests in New York City and Long Island from May to July 2020. Sparked by the brutal killing of George Floyd while in the police custody, the recent protests are led by Black Lives Matter, which since its beginnings in 2013 has developed into a global network and the largest civil rights movement in US history, gaining broad support from white youth who are first-time demonstrators. Protesting against systemic racism and police brutality, Black Lives Matter protests have collided with another landmark moment in modern history—the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
Dissatisfied with how BLM has been covered by mass media, Lee took matters into her own hands, deploying her Nikon D750 to seek authenticity amid the unfiltered truth of the protests. Lee ventured into the field every other day during her two-months of reporting, witnessing the protests unfold firsthand while committing herself to unbiased coverage. Lee amassed a large number of images that depict the drama up-close, including such works as The Summoned Mother, in which a weeping mother is supported by a fellow protester, and A Brother in Need, which shows two strangers embracing each other. These images evoke camaraderie amid powerful emotions. Tension between police officers and protesters is also depicted during heated moments, and violence is shown through a damaged police van and a fire started by a small group of rioters whom the protest leaders tried to stop. In another poignant image, The Future is Bright, a young boy is pushing a stroller holding two younger children: he holds a sign reading “I Want to Live.”
In order to capture these scenes, Lee endured physical exhaustion—on one occasion getting trapped inside a huge a protest—and risked arrest and bodily harm amid the threat of COVID-19 infection, but the project has deep personal meaning to Lee, the mother of two sons whose father is Black. While her compassion ran high during these protests, in order to maintain her impartial view, Lee kept her personal emotions in check, a strategy she learned while taking photographs of her uncle’s funeral, a project that culminated in Echos (2019).
A native of Georgetown, Guyana, Lee was born into a multicultural family. Lee and her mother immigrated to the United States when she was nine years old. She always expressed an interest in art, but it was not until taking a photography course at Nassau Community College that she found her passion. After completing a degree in Legal Studies there, Lee enrolled in the Visual Arts program at SUNY College at Old Westbury, where she began to grow as a person and evolve as an artist: she graduated in 2020. Lee and her husband operate BlueMink Studios in Far Rockaway. Lee was particularly influenced by Albert Watson (b. 1942), the Scottish fashion photographer, who advised Lee to be “true to yourself and your work” when Lee attended his talk at the B & H Depth of Field conference. The Rising was first shown at Art At Fame Gallery in Jamaica, NY during summer 2020. Lee has been nominated for a SUNY PACC Prize grant.
This is the first virtual exhibition offered by Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibition may be accessed via www.amelieawallacegallery.org. Lee will give a talk on October 7, 2020, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm EDT. In order to join the zoom meeting, please register at https://suny-ow-edu.zoom.us/j/91834756944.

About Amelie A. Wallace Gallery:
Formally dedicated on May 22, 1979, the Gallery is named for the late Amelie Alexanderson Wallace in recognition of her unflagging support of the College and her personal commitment to the arts at Old Westbury. The Gallery exhibits Contemporary art by emerging and mid-career artists, as well as works by faculty and students of the Visual Arts Department. Public programs designed to accompany exhibitions comprise lectures and discussions led by artists and curators, as well as live performances and video presentations.

For more information, contact:
Gallery Director:YiH [at] oldwestbury.edu (Hyewon Yi)

Gallery Hours:
Due to COVID-19, the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery is closed. Please enjoy our virtual exhibitions until the gallery can reopen.

Campus Center, Main Level
Amelie A. Wallace Gallery
SUNY College at Old Westbury
Old Westbury, NY 11568