Opening Reception Date: July 11, 2013 from 6-9pm
Location: Habana Outpost
757 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217
“Affirmation” is a solo exhibition of the work of visual artist Sophia Dawson that explores through paintings and drawings the story of Assata Shakur. After reading Assata’s autobiography and learning of her life as a former political prisoner in the United States, Dawson was inspired to create portraits of Assata, and other comrades who remain behind bars today for their political actions and beliefs.
Forty years ago NJ State Troopers targeted Assata Olugbala Shakur, who was a subject of the FBI’s infamous Counter Intelligence Program due to her elevated political consciousness and formidable organizing skill. As Shakur was transporting along the New Jersey Turnpike, she was shot twice by NJ State Troopers while her hands were raised above her head. According to Shakur, “I was left on the ground to die, and when I did not, I was taken to a local hospital where I was threatened, beaten and tortured.” She was subsequently charged with the murder of State Trooper Werner Forster–who died, along with one of Assata’s comrades–Zayd Malik Shakur–in a gun battle initiated by the police. A kangaroo court was set up to convict her and later to sentence her in life in prison. She was set free by the Black Liberation Army in 1979 and has lived in Cuba in political asylum since 1984. On May 2, 2013 the FBI added Assata Shakur to its list of most wanted terrorists.
Dawson is excited to share her work with the public to educate people on this recent portion of black history through the exhibition. It is her artistic objective to raise awareness and to share the life stories and experiences of oppressed peoples. Dawson was recently chosen as one of thirty-one women honored for this year’s Brooklyn’s Extraordinary Women Award. The Brooklyn District Attorney has given this award each year to women who have demonstrated impressive service in their community and exemplified outstanding character. Dawson has also recently obtained her Masters in Visual Arts Administration from New York University.