Jordan Shanks’ Love Letters to America Part II, An Exhibition on Racial Awakening

Jordan Shanks BeLatina Latinx
Courtesy of Jordan Shanks

If anyone is familiar with the intersection of race and ethnicity, it is Jordan Shanks, the young filmmaker, photographer, writer, and founder of Shanks Studio, who, at only 25, has already made a name for himself on the national art scene.

Although his portfolio includes collaborations with major companies such as YouTube, Facebook, and Complex Networks, his work as a photographer and documentary filmmaker of social realities has transformed his experience with 35mm photography into an exhibition that says more than a thousand words about the country’s situation.

“Love Letters to America,” his project from five years ago, began during his years at Howard University, and aimed to give viewers “a glimpse into my generation and its identity,” Shanks told Ebony, speaking from his experience as an African-American, Latino and Caribbean descent person.

Through the lens of the camera, Shanks has managed to put into static and moving images a reality that vibrates on the streets of the United States. 

Now, the second part of his project will present in Richmond, VA, 20 stunning images captured in Ferguson, MO; Baltimore, MD; Richmond, VA; and New York City, and are part of his tour of the country documenting America’s continuing struggle for racial equality.

The exhibition will also include the Southern premiere of his second film, “Never Again,” which chronicles social justice movements, following the dramatic removal of Confederate statues in his hometown of Richmond, the former Confederate capital.

“This is a pivotal time in our nation’s history,” says Shanks in a press release. “We are reconciling with our past, navigating the issues of this moment, and deciding what our future will look like.”

Shanks will participate in an artist talk alongside Heidi Abbott, whose works are also part of the Racial Awakening exhibition. Their discussion will take place on Saturday, October 17, at 2 p.m. ET at The Richmond Art Garage. Their conversation will be moderated by Kristen Green, an award-winning journalist, and New York Times’ best-selling author.

The exhibition will run from Friday, October 16 through Saturday, October 31, 2020, at The Richmond Art Garage, 205 W. Brookland Park Blvd., Richmond, VA., in the city’s historic Brookland Park neighborhood.

Select prints will be sold onsite, and a virtual exhibition will be available to the public at JordanShanks.com, where photos can also be purchased. The web store will go live at noon EST on Monday, October 19, 2020. A percentage of proceeds will benefit local youth-based art programs and the Anti-Racism Fund.