In Testaments, artist Kris Graves invokes a diverse vocabulary of portraiture to bear witness to contemporary Black experience. The richly hued brilliance of the 80 portraits—made between 2014-19—that comprise The Testament Project­ underscores the power of self-representation, when portraiture becomes a consciously collaborative act. In other images, Graves portrays subjects in states of absorption, seemingly oblivious to the presence of the camera and immersed in interior thought. 

Kris Graves (b. 1982, New York City) is an American artist based in New York and London. His work primarily focuses on landscape architecture and portraiture. His powerful image of George Floyd and the words Black Lives Matter projected on a confederate monument graced the cover of National Geographic’s 2020 Year in Pictures issue. To view more of his works, visit his website or follow him on Instagram.

Lynne Edwards is a Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Ursinus College and is a Distinguished Research Fellow with the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Hosted by the Berman Museum of Art.

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