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The Ethics of Engagement: A Conversation with Aruna D’Souza and Zoë Charlton

Presented by Black Studies Project Artist in Residence Andrea Chung

February 11, 2022
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. PST
YouTube Stream:

Contemporary artist and educator Zoë Charlton and art historian and critic Aruna D’Souza will be in conversation discussing the social themes throughout Zoë’s artistic practice and her current projects as well as both speakers’ experiences engaging the ethics of institutions within specific communities and audiences.

The Black Studies Project at UC San Diego has invited Andrea Chung to be their Artist in Residence. As part of the residency, Andrea has invited Zoë Charlton and Aruna D'Souza to participate in a discussion, co-sponsored by the Department of Visual Arts.

Image: Zoë Charlton, Meant for the Homebred, 2020

Zoë Charlton (Baltimore, MD) creates figure drawings, collages, installations, and animations that depict her subject’s relationship to culturally loaded objects and landscapes.  Charlton received her MFA degree from the University of Texas at Austin and participated in residencies at Artpace (TX), McColl Center for Art + Innovation (NC), Ucross Foundation (WY), the Skowhegan School of Painting (ME), and the Patterson Residency at the Creative Alliance (MD). Charlton co-founded ‘sindikit, a collaborative art initiative, with her colleague Tim Doud to engage their research interests in gender, sexuality, and race. Charlton is a Professor of Art at American University in Washington, D.C., holds a seat on the Maryland State Arts Council, and is a board member at the Washington Project for the Arts (DC). Charlton is serving on an 8-member steering committee at the Baltimore Museum of Art to reimagine equitable and accountable structures and functions of cultural institutions within diverse local and regional communities.

Aruna D'Souza writes about modern and contemporary art; intersectional feminisms and other forms of politics; and how museums shape our views of each other and the world. Her work appears regularly in, where she is a member of the editorial advisory board, and she is a contributor to The New York Times. Her writing has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal,, Art News, Garage, Bookforum, Frieze, Momus, Art in America, and Art Practical, among other places. Her book, Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts (Badlands Unlimited), was named one of the best art books of 2018 by the New York Times. Her most recent editorial project is Linda Nochlin’s Making It Modern: Essays on the Art of the Now, published by Thames & Hudson in 2022. She is editor of Lorraine O’Grady’s Writing in Space 1973-2018 (Duke University Press, 2020), and is co-curator of the retrospective of O’Grady’s work, Both/And, which opened in March 2021 at the Brooklyn Museum and is traveling across the US. She is the recipient of the 2021 Rabkin Prize for art journalism and a 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant.

Andrea Chung lives and works in San Diego, California. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design, New York, and a Master of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. Her recent biennale and museum exhibitions include Prospect 4, New Orleans and the Jamaican Biennale, Kingston, Jamaica, as well as the Chinese American Museum and California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and the San Diego Art Institute. In 2017, her first solo museum exhibition took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, You broke the ocean in half to be here. She has participated in national and international residencies including the Vermont Studio Center, McColl Center for Visual Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been written about in the Artfile Magazine, New Orleans Times, Picayune, Artnet, Los Angeles Times, and International Review of African-American Art, as well as a number of academic essays looking at the subject of colonialism and slavery in the Caribbean.