Talking Back: Artists of the Columbia Collective

Foreland and the Juvenile Justice Arts and Media Network are pleased to present Talking Back: Artists of the Columbia Collective, a group exhibition channeling creativity as a form of agency, humor as insurgence, and joy as resistance within the juvenile justice system. Curated by Sofia Thieu, Talking Back features new site-specific works from the Columbia Collective: a multimedia group of young female and trans artists named after their previous facility, the New York Department of Corrections’ Columbia Secure Center for Girls in Claverack, New York. The Collective is now incarcerated at the maximum Brookwood Secure Center for Youth down the street, constructed in 1983 as one of eleven state juvenile facilities operated by the Office of Children and Family Services, and where individuals under 16 have been sentenced in adult criminal court.

Under the arts programming and mentorship of artist Maggie Hazen, the Columbia Collective was founded in 2019. Since then, the Collective—comprised of artists Jay, Juste-A, and Marshmallow—has turned to dynamic artistic practices to navigate their circumstances of incarceration. Taking its title from bell hooks’ 1989 novel, Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black, the exhibition explores defiant speech and the gallery space as a platform to “talk back” against a carceral system that silences these artists’ voices.

To read the full press release, click here.

For more information on The Columbia Collective, visit thecolumbiacollective.com

On view September 3-25, 2022, public hours every Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm.

Opening reception Saturday September 3, 2022, 5pm-7pm.


September 14, 6:30-8pm

111 Water St. Catskill, NY

Please join us for an artist talk and panel discussion with Alison Cornyn of the Incorrigibles Project and Mark Loughney, artist of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, focusing on the intersections of cultural and carceral systems, tapping our prison history archives, the crisis of youth incarceration, and visions of a decarcerated future. How do we identify modes of abolition and advocacy, create critical projects, and identify the reaches of our prison industrial complex? Following artist presentations and discussion there will be Q&A session with panelists and Columbia Collective founder Maggie Hazen.

This event is free and open to the public.

Panelist Bios:

Mark Lougney spent ten years in a Pennsylvania prison. His cell served as a workspace where he made thousands of paintings and drawings. Mark’s portrait series, Pyrrhic Defeat: A Visual Study Of Mass Incarceration, is a series of over 800 drawings of his fellow prisoners. He was released from prison in July 2022. Loughney showed a major installation of work in the MoMA PS1 exhibition Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration curated by Nicole Fleetwood in 2020.

Alison Cornyn is an interdisciplinary artist, activist and educator and founder of Incorrigibles, a transmedia project that collects and tells the stories of ‘incorrigible’ girls in the United States over the last 100 years—beginning with New York State. Drawing on the personal narratives of young women in “the system” the project investigates the history and present state of youth justice and social services for girls and gathers information from archival documents related to the New York State Training School for Girls (1904-1975). Incorrigibles is seeking to expand research to include all state-run youth detention centers for girls in the US – recording and sharing accounts of women alive today who were confined in these institutions. The project organizes intergenerational community engagement events with young women and the public to encourage critical analysis around youth detention and behavioral intervention.

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