Allison K. Young
Allison K. Young is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. A specialist in postcolonial and contemporary art of the Global South, her research primarily focuses on African and African Diaspora artists and art histories, and on questions surrounding migration, social justice, and eco-criticism in twentieth and twenty-first century art. Her writing has been published across diverse platforms such as African Arts, Apollo International, Art Journal, Artforum, British Art Studies, Burnaway Magazine, the International Review of African American Art, and Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art. Young has also contributed to exhibition catalogues for a range of national, and international projects, among them Prospect.5: Yesterday We Said Tomorrow, The Measurement of Presence (the Dutch Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale), and the Short Guide for All the World’s Futures (the 56th Venice Biennale). In 2021, she joined the National Advisory Panel for the exhibition “Promise, Witness, Remembrance” at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY, which commemorated the life and legacy of Breonna Taylor.
Young’s current research includes a book project in process on South African artist Gavin Jantjes, and explorations into Plantationocene aesthetics and contemporary art in Louisiana. Her scholarship has been recently supported by several grants and fellowships, including a 2022 Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a 2022 Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society, a 2022 Monroe Fellowship from Tulane University’s New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, and a 2021 Research Support Grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art at Yale University. She is honored to have received the 2022 Tenure-Track Faculty Award from the LSU chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society.
In his screen-prints of the 1970s, South African artist Gavin Jantjes sought to convey the urgency and interconnectedness of global Black liberation movements. As an art student in exile in Hamburg, Jantjes dedicated his early practice to raising awareness of the brutal injustices of the apartheid system in South Africa, engaging with anti-colonial struggles waged by African and African-Diasporic populations around the world. In this essay, art historian Allison K. Young looks at a selection of early abstracted, dynamic compositions which evidence his belief in the connection between art and resistance, and his commitment to solidarity between localized struggles across the diaspora.