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Radical Justice: Lifting Every Voice

© Accra Shepp/CONVOKE

“Accra Shepp’s Radical Justice is a vision. Clear-eyed and unique, Shepp’s photographs are also a powerful record of hope and resiliency, framed by a compassionate eye interested in these times, and in times to come. An uplifting and necessary book.”
— Hilton Als, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Staff Writer for The New Yorker

Radical Justice: Lifting Every Voice brings together two bodies of socially-engaged photographic portraiture by Accra Shepp, who has documented New York City’s Occupy Wall Street movement starting in 2011 and its racial justice/BLM protests since 2020.

Working in the style of August Sander with a large-format camera and black and white film, Shepp pictures fellow New Yorkers on their city’s streets in acts of sit-ins and active protest, both unplanned and highly organized, independent and unified, to address notions of the 99% and 1%, which have become part of the American political vernacular. Bearing witness to defining events of the last decade echoing the United States’ longer historical arch, Shepp’s empathetic depictions of fellow citizens standing up for the Constitution’s fair protection provide a prophetic mirror of current events, which reflects back centuries to
where the American experiment began, to suggest where
we’ll find ourselves in the years to come.

click to view all the images in the set


Accra Shepp was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the midst of the Black Power movement and the cultural change of the 60s. He is a photo-based artist whose work has explored our relationship with the natural environment as in his 2014 solo exhibition at the Queens Museum, which looked at the more than 40 islands making up New York City.

In September of 2011, news of a protest happening on Wall Street drew him to Zuccotti Park, the epicentre of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Immediately struck by the energy and earnestness of the protesters, along with their focus and organization, Shepp decided that he had no choice but to document events as they unfolded.

Nearly a decade later, while under lockdown from the Coronavirus (COVID-19), he began to document the pandemic. Accra’s neighbourhood was one of the most affected areas in New York City. And over time, as the virus changed, so did its effects within the community. The contagion led to a lockdown, which gave rise to mass unemployment. From the unemployment came hunger, which led to food pantries and food lines. And then it changed again. The murder of George Floyd triggered spontaneous mass protests not just in the United States, but globally. Each of these stages is a section in his latest work The Covid Journals: Contagion, Hunger, and Justice. It is selections from this third section, Justice, that serves as the final chapter of this book Radical Justice: Lifting Every Voice. Shepp lives and works in New York City.

Publisher: CONVOKE
Cloth hardcover with dust jacket
9 x 11.5 inches | Acid-free 130lb. paper
248 pages
ISBN 9780999782149


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