Donavon Smallwood

Solo Exhibition Award
Art Museum of West Virginia University Purchase Award
The Stinnett Philadelphia Museum of Art Collection Award
Stockbridge Fine Art Print Award

Donavon Smallwood (lives New York, NY) received his BA from Hunter College, New York. He has had a solo exhibition at the Baxter St Camera Club of New York and has exhibited in group exhibitions nationally and internationally. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2021 Aperture Portfolio Prize and the 2021 Daylight Photo Award. His editorial photographs have been published in The Atlantic, FT Weekend, The New York Times and The New Yorker. Languor, his first monograph, was released by Trespasser (Austin, TX) in November 2021.

Project Statement:
Shot in New York’s Central Park, “Languor” comprises black-and-white portraits alongside closely cropped landscape images. A life-long resident of Harlem, Smallwood turned to the park as a refuge in the difficult days of lockdown and isolation due to COVID-19. However, it was not only the bucolic landscape that drew his attention in the park, but also the people within it – both his neighbors and random passersby. Picturing Black people specifically in this context references the history of Seneca Village, a 19th century Black community at the heart of what is now the park. Smallwood explores the notion of home more pointedly in “Beebe.” It is sited at the ruins of Beebe Chapel – a Methodist church, originally located behind his grandmother’s house in the town of Washington on the coast of North Carolina. The artist considers this location to be the genesis of the paternal side of his family. Thus, the series functions as a family portrait, capturing the people, places and things still inhabiting this auratic land today. 

– Dr. Ksenia Nouril

Donavon Smallwood: Languor / Beebe, on view at The Print Center January 21 – March 12, 2022.