This week in Express Newark, artist, teacher, and activist Ben Jones was the featured guest for a screening of The Art of the Journey, a short documentary on the artist’s life and work, followed by a discussion and Q&A led by painter Jordan Casteel, who is an assistant professor in the Arts, Culture & Media department, and was recently named one of Forbes 30 Under 30. The event was hosted by the Rutgers-Newark Alumni Association.
Jones, a Paterson-born and Jersey City raised artist who’s been described by the Granma International of Havana as “one of the most important African-American artists of his generation” was greeted by a room full of Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) faculty, staff, students, and friends, as well as local artists.
The documentary, a 35 minute profile that followed Jones for 6 years, highlighted the presence and politics of Jones’ life and work: as a young activist in New Jersey, a world-renowned artist with a special admiration for Cuba, and as a teacher at New Jersey City University.
In the discussion with Casteel, topics ranged from presence and pattern to political expression and the next generation of artists. One question came from a young artist who asked how POC artists can fight for better representation in universities, to which Jones answered, “Students. Students are more powerful than faculty…you must not be afraid to organize.”
Browse photos from the event below.
All photos by Isaac Jiménez