“Languor” by Photographer Donavon Smallwood

New York-based photographer Donavon Smallwood’s recent series, “Languor,” considers the poetic and allegorical links between Black people and nature. Weaving together portraits and landscapes taken throughout New York City’s Central Park, the serenity found in Smallwood’s photographs exists in contrast with Central Park’s dark history of land acquisition, during which an entire community of landowning African-Americans was stripped of their property and homes through the City’s use of eminent domain. 

Existing within the context of this harsh history, Smallwood’s portraits offer a reprieve from the surrounding chaos. As he explains, the series is “an examination of nature, the negation of civilization, home, and the possibility of escape; centering black tranquility among the chaos of nature space, history, and life today.”

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