Jordan Seaberry: We Live Until

April 27, 2024 - November 10, 2024

Contemporary Gallery

The sculptures and paintings in “We Live Until” bring the stories of patients in hospice care into conversation with the topics of how we grieve, treat the dying, do (or do not) respect life and death, and, as artist Jordan Seaberry highlights, how these issues connect to larger political and cultural conversations about human rights and social justice.

 Developed in collaboration with Dr. Sunita Puri, the Program Director of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, these works began with interviews and were collaboratively designed with current hospice patients. According to the artist, this spirit of collaboration and communication is essential for finding meaning, comfort, and agency over our treatment and support of the dying.

In the artist’s words:

“This project began germinating when my grandmother passed away in 2021. With the risk of COVID, I was unable to be with her in her final weeks. Instead, we watched her slip away from afar. It spurred me to wonder what exactly I would have done had I been there and, subsequently, how much of that intervention would have been to soothe my soul rather than hers? The implicit expectation I placed upon her to furnish me with some wisdom about death mirrored how we treat all of our community members at the margins: cancer patients who are ‘fighting,’ houseless neighbors who are ‘grateful,’ incarcerated people who are ‘wisened’ by their punishment. I began wondering how shifting our approach to death could shift our politics toward the living. What would it mean to truly listen to and confront death plainly, unglamorously? Might it allow us to recognize the inhumanity of poverty next door, or solitary confinement at our prison, hate crimes, and on and on. “ 

About the artist:

Jordan Seaberry is a painter, organizer, legislative advocate, and educator. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Jordan first came to Providence to attend Rhode Island School of Design. Alongside his art, he built a career as a grassroots organizer, helping to fight and pass multiple criminal justice reform milestones, including Probation Reform, the Unshackling Pregnant Prisoners Bill, and laying the groundwork for the “Ban the Box” movement in Rhode Island.

Jordan serves as Co-Director of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, a people-powered nonprofit agency, and most recently worked as the Director of Public Policy at the Nonviolence Institute. He serves as Chairman of the Providence Board of Canvassers, overseeing the city’s elections; as a Board Member at New Urban Arts in Providence; and as a Board Member for Protect Families First, working on community-oriented drug policy reform. He has received fellowships from the Art Matters Foundation, and the Rhode Island Foundation, and recently served as Community Leader Fellow at Roger Williams University School of Law.

Jordan maintains a painting studio in Providence and has displayed works at institutions such as the RISD Museum, deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum, and exhibition spaces in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and elsewhere.