Yesterday, September 17th, the Escalette Collection of Art hosted its first event in conjunction with Begin/Again: Marking Black MemoriesIvan Forde, an artist featured in the virtual exhibition, was joined by anthropologist, artist, curator, and educator Niama Safia Sandy and introduced by David L. Bell of the Visitor Welcome Center in Los Angeles.

If you didn’t have the chance to come to this event or would like to share this artist talk, please click on the link to the Zoom recording below.


After a short introduction by Lindsay Shen, Director of the Escalette Collection and David L. Bell, Ivan Forde shared images of his work and discussed some of the inspirations behind his artistic practice. Much of his work draws from the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest known poem in human history. Using collaged self-portraits, Forde casts himself as Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the two main characters in the epic who act as foils to one another. Forde’s more recent work draws heavily from his own family-history in Guyana. Specifically, Forde is interested in using methods of epic story-telling to relate the fascinating history of Buxton, his grandmother’s hometown.

Ivan Forde, Morning Raid, Cyanotype and thread, 2017. Purchased with funds from the Escalette Endowment.

Niama Safia Sandy, a former professor of Forde’s, discussed the layers of significance and history present in Forde’s works. She was particularly interested in the relevance of epics in our current times. The Epic of Gilgamesh, for example, tells of a great flood that changed people’s relationship to the world. The discussion ended with Sandy wondering if we are in the midst of another epic flood-like time that will allow us to re-author our future.

We encourage you to read more about Ivan Forde’s work as well as the work of the other artists featured in Begin/Again: Marking Black Memories on our virtual exhibition.

Ivan Forde artwork

Ivan Forde, Morning Raid (detail), Cyanotype and thread, 2017. Purchased with funds from the Escalette Endowment.

We invite you to explore all the works in the Escalette Collection by visiting our eMuseum.

Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is the proud home of the Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art. The Escalette Collection exists to inspire critical thinking, foster interdisciplinary discovery, and strengthen bonds with the community. Beyond its role in curating art in public spaces, the Escalette is a learning laboratory that offers diverse opportunities for student and engagement and research, and involvement with the wider community. The collection is free and open to the public to view.