Imag(in)ing Revolutions

February 7, 2024 (Wednesday) / 6:00 pm8:00 pm

Fisher-Bennett Hall 401, 3340 Walnut Street

Imag(in)ing Revolutions

Traditions of Unrest for an Anticolonial Art Praxis


Multi-disciplinary artist

Tessa Mars

Multi-disciplinary artist

Carlos Martiel

Installation and performance artist

Aisha Mershani

Photographer; Assistant Professor, Interdsciplinary Studies, Gettysburg College

Corine Labridy

Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Gwendalynn Roebke

Graduate student, Department of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania

Artists and scholars convene for a cross-cultural conversation exploring art praxis as means to redefine, bring about, and document revolution, attending to its afterlives on the margins of institutional memory. Moderators Corine Labridy and Gwendalynn Roebke will highlight the connection between the Arab world and Latin America in a wide-ranging discussion with accomplished artists from across the globe and disciplines: Ganzeer, Tessa Mars, Carlos Martiel, and Aisha Mershani.

Cosponsored by Penn's Department of Cinema & Media Studies.

Described as a “chameleon” by Carlo McCormick in the New York Times, Ganzeer operates seamlessly between art, design, and storytelling, creating what he has coined: Concept Pop. His medium of choice according to Artforum is “a little bit of everything: stencils, murals, paintings, pamphlets, comics, installations, and graphic design.”

With over 40 exhibitions to his name, Ganzeer’s work has been seen in a wide variety of art galleries, impromptu spaces, alleyways, and major museums around the world, such as The Brooklyn Museum in New York, The Palace of the Arts in Cairo, Greek State Museum in Thessaloniki, the V&A in London, and the Edith Russ Haus in Oldenburg. Born in Cairo, he is based in Houston, TX. 

Corine Labridy is a native Guadeloupean and an assistant professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in French Caribbean and continental French Black cultures, and her current research focuses on laughter as a counter-universalist critique. She is a co-founder of Kwazman Vwa, a digital humanities project that invites new and established Caribbean authors and scholars to discuss their latest works. She is also assistant editor for Imaginaries, an online publication affiliated with H-France that is concerned with the many ways that literature and history can and do intersect. She has written for Public BooksSmall Axe, and the CLR James Journal.

Tessa Mars is a Haitian visual artist born and raised in Port-au-Prince. She completed a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts at Rennes 2 University in France in 2006 before returning to live and work in Haiti. Her work has been shown recently in the exhibitions "Your presence does not escape me" at Tiwani Gallery in London and "Who Tells a Tale adds a Tail" (2022) at the Denver Art Museum. Tessa Mars is an Alumn of the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten (2020-2022). She currently resides in Puerto Rico.

Artist Carlos Martiel (born 1989, Havana) lives and works in New York. He graduated in 2009 from the National Academy of Fine Arts “San Alejandro,” in Havana. From 2008–2010, he studied in the Cátedra Arte de Conducta, directed by artist Tania Bruguera. 

Martiel’s works have been included in 57th Venice Biennale, Italy. He has had performances at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art and El Museo del Barrio in New York. He has received several awards, including Grants to Artists from Foundation for Contemporary Arts in New York and the  Latinx Artist Fellowship from US Latinx Art Forum. His work has been exhibited at The São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) in São Paulo, The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH), the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and his works are in public collections such as The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, The Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA), the ASU Art Museum.

Aisha Mershani (they/them) was born in Las Vegas, Nevada to an American Jewish mother and a Moroccan Muslim father. Mershani completed their Ph.D. degree (2015) from the UNESCO program in International Peace, Conflict, and Development Studies at the Universitat Jaume I in Castellón de la Plana, Spain. Mershani’s dissertation, entitled Palestinian Civil Resistance: A Case Study of the Popular Struggle Against the Wall from 2002-2013, focused on life in the Occupied West Bank since the establishment of the Israeli Apartheid Wall, and the Palestinian popular struggle to nonviolently remain on their lands. 

Mershani’s scholarship utilizes photography as data, a vital way to analyze contemporary violence. From 2003-2022, Mershani focused on the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They have photographed military checkpoints, popular demonstrations, house demolitions, destroyed villages, and the daily lives of Palestinians living under the violence of the Israeli Apartheid. Mershani's photographs have been exhibited in numerous galleries and multiple publications, including many internet news sites. Mershani is a featured artist in the reference book, "Encyclopedia of Arab American Artists." Their new show, La La Lil Jidar; 20 Years Behind the Apartheid Wall, is a traveling solo photography exhibit by way of a collaborative work with a collective of artists and activists. 

Aisha Mershani is currently an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Gettysburg College and combines their scholarly work with their media activism.

Gwendalynn Roebke (they/them) is an interdisciplinary scholar currently in their 2nd year of Penn's philosophy PhD program. Their research interests center around trauma/learned helplessness, structural oppression, identity construction (of individuals and communities), and culpability of the action or inaction of marginalized peoples given what reality has presented them with (this also has to do with their involvement with knowledge creation through narratives built around shared "in group"identities that are the product of harmful practices of othering through subjugation).

The richer world anchored parts of their interests involve cross-examining attitudes in the wake of colonialism and imperialism from the SWANA region (more specifically North Africa) with those in Latin America (more specifically Colombia and its other coastal neighbors). 

For a brief stint of time, Gwendalynn was an active poet, performing around the Denver metro area. In the summer of 2021, they had a small chapbook released, titled "A Bruxist Manifesto." They hope to incorporate poetics into their academic work more, and they currently coordinate the Anti-Colonial Poetry and Philosophy Working/Reading Group.