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National Portrait Gallery Presents “Identify”

Sheldon Scott Will Perform at the Museum As the Fifth Artist in the Series

October 26, 2016

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The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery presents Sheldon Scott in its latest iteration of “Identify,” the performance-art program created to acknowledge those individuals who are missing from its historical collections. Scott, an artist, storyteller, actor and writer will perform the museum’s first commissioned performance Saturday, Nov. 5, at 5:30 p.m.

Scott’s performance, “Precious in Da Wadah, A Portrait of the Geechee,” explores techniques enslaved Africans used to produce rice in the coastal region of South Carolina. The performance challenges the concept of European technology as the basis of American agriculture, mercantilism and financial prowess while highlighting the ingenuity of rice cultivation by the Gullah and Geechee people. Scott examines the advent of rice as a cash crop and the commodification of the black body while acknowledging the enslaved Muslim West Africans who cultivated rice and indigo on the sea islands of South Carolina.

“Identify” is the National Portrait Gallery’s performance-art series, which focuses attention on activism, visibility and experimentation through portrayal. This performance uses natural materials, objects, sound and movement. It will begin in the Portrait Gallery’s Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard and end in the Great Hall.

“Identify” is curated by Dorothy Moss, associate curator of painting and sculpture, and this performance is organized in connection with the two-day symposium “Racial Masquerade in American Art and Culture” to be held at the Portrait Gallery Nov. 4 and 5.

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Website: Connect with the museum at Facebook; Instagram; blog; Twitter and YouTube.

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Bethany Bentley 
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Marielba Alvarez
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