“Donavon Smallwood: 2021 Aperture Portfolio Prize Winner” Exhibition

Baxter Street/ the Camera Club of NY

poster for “Donavon Smallwood: 2021 Aperture Portfolio Prize Winner” Exhibition

This event has ended.

Aperture Foundation presents Donavon Smallwood: 2021 Aperture Portfolio Prize Winner, an exhibition hosted by Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York. Smallwood was awarded the 2021 Portfolio Prize for Languor, his series of photographs taken in New York’s Central Park, envisioning Black tranquility at the center of the urban landscape.

Donavon Smallwood’s work, chosen from more than 1,200 submissions, was published in the Summer 2021 issue of Aperture magazine. In the accompanying essay, Mikelle Street explains that Smallwood was inspired by The Lost Neighborhood under New York’s Central Park, an eight-minute documentary released on Vox in 2020 that tells the story of Seneca Village, a nineteenth-century African American community located on land that is now Central Park. Interested in how the public space was stripped from that community, Smallwood intended to create a narrative of Black life distant from the demands and distortions of the news cycle. Smallwood’s images, with their clarity and precision, invite viewers to consider Black people in natural settings connected to their own cultural history. As Smallwood affirms, “When you see Black people just being themselves, that’s what the art is.”

The Aperture Portfolio Prize aims to spotlight new talent in photography, identifying contemporary trends in the field and highlighting artists whose work deserves greater recognition. In addition to the winner, Aperture’s editors selected four runners-up for the 2021 Portfolio Prize: William Camargo, Chance DeVille, Jarod Lew, and Anouchka Renaud-Eck.

Donavon Smallwood (born in New York, 1994) is a self-trained photographer who grew up in a household that emphasized literature and a deep engagement with the tradition of art. For him, photography—like all art and creation—is a communion with the divine; and he uses the medium as a means of exploring humankind, imagination, essence, and nature. Smallwood holds a BA from Hunter College, New York. His first monograph is Languor (2021).



from July 21, 2021 to August 25, 2021

Opening Reception on 2021-07-21 from 17:00 to 20:00

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