On Saturday, May 13 from 6:08 a.m. – 7:45 p.m., Ogden Museum of Southern Art will host visiting artist Sheldon Scott for a live endurance performance of his work Portrait, numba 1 man (day clean ta sun down) in the Museum’s Patrick F. Taylor Library. 

During the immensely physically challenging live performance of Portrait, numba 1 man (day clean ta sun down), D.C. based artist Sheldon Scott will hull individual grains of rice while kneeling, starting at 6:08 a.m. until sun down at 7:45 p.m. This tedious work, performed in tribute to the hours worked by the enslaved Gullah/Geeche people in pre-Civil War coastal regions of South Carolina, creates a portrait of Scott’s ancestors using his own body.

Describing the experience Scott states, “From sun up until sun down, the body will hull and winnow rice grains, then place the hulled grains, one by one, on a tomb-like vessel lined with burlap. This rhythmic, inane process will communicate the transactional and the incalculable.” 

Entrance to the performance is free and open to the public. Visitors are invited to witness the performance in Ogden Museum’s Patrick F. Taylor Library by using the entrance on Andrews Higgins Boulevard any time between 6:08 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. All are invited to share notions, tokens, gifts, writings, reflections and respects in honor of ancestral healing in this space, but please be advised that the subject in this performance represents a portal and the artist will not be able to respond to or directly engage with participants during this time.

Join us again on Sunday, May 14 at 2 p.m. for a Curated Conversation between Sheldon Scott and Bradley Sumrall, Curator of the Collection for Ogden Museum of Southern Art. This intimate conversation will explore how Scott’s performance creates a platform for ancestral healing, and restores humanity to the narrative of slavery in the American South.

The performance and conversation are presented in conjunction with the exhibition Knowing Who We Are: A 20th Anniversary Exhibition, which includes Sheldon Scott’s 2019 performance video, Portrait, numba 1 man (day clean ta sun down). This anniversary exhibition, drawn primarily from the museum’s permanent collection, examines the development of visual arts in the American South from the 19th century to the present. Knowing Who We Are illustrates how Southern artists actively engage with their region and with the rest of the world through their practice, and how Ogden Museum is filling a critical role in confronting the past, embracing the future and bridging the reconciliation of both.

“We are humbled and honored to have Scott transform the Museum’s historic library into a space for healing, understanding, and reverence,” says Bradley Sumrall, Curator of the Collection at Ogden Museum. “This important performance portrait explores some of the most defining issues facing the nation and the region today: race, place, identity, white supremacy and the brutal history and lasting legacy of slavery.”

For more information regarding Scott’s live performance or Curated Conversation, please contact Samantha Scoggins at marketing@ogdenmuseum.org or 504.539.9604. 

About Sheldon Scott 

Sheldon Scott (b. 1976, Pawley’s Island, SC) mines his experiences growing up in the Gullah/Geechee South and professional background in storytelling to examine the Black male form with particular emphasis on biases of usability and expendability in relation to constructs of race, economics and sexuality. 

The artist’s works have been presented at Delaware State University, Katzen Art Museum, David C. Driskell Center, Ogden Museum of Southern Art,  Nasher Museum of Art and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. His work has been acquired by esteemed collections including the National Museum of African-American History and Culture and Ogden Museum of Southern Art. He has been recognized by Americans for the Arts’ Best Public Art Program and was a finalist for the National Portrait Gallery’s 2019 Outwin-Boochever Portrait Competition. Scott has been a featured presenter at TEDx Mid-Atlantic, ArtTable, CreativeTime Festival, Washington Ideas Festival, and the Smithsonian Long Conversation. He currently serves on the boards of Teaching for Change, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Transformer and Woolly Mammoth Theatre/ He currently serves at the Global Head of Purpose at Eaton Workshop.

About Ogden Museum

Located in the vibrant Warehouse Arts District of downtown New Orleans, Louisiana since 1999, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art welcomes 85,000 visitors annually to experience and learn about the artists and art movements of the American South. It is home to a collection of more than four thousand works, making it the largest and most comprehensive repository dedicated to Southern art in the nation, with particular strength in the genres of Self-Taught art, Regionalism, photography, and contemporary art. The Museum is further recognized for its original exhibitions, public events and educational programs, which examine the development of visual art alongside Southern traditions of music, literature and local craft. Among its recent exhibitions are Piercing the Inner Wall: The Art of Dusti Bongé (2019), New Southern Photography (2018-2019), The Whole Drum Will Sound: Women in Southern Abstraction (2018), and Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, presented by The Helis Foundation (2017-2018), and Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body: The Work of RaMell Ross (2021 – 2022). 

The Ogden Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. with extended hours on the third Thursday of every month from 6 – 8 p.m. for Ogden After Hours. Admission is free to museum members and $13.50 for adults, $11 for seniors 65 and older, $6.75 for children ages 5-17 and free for children under 5. 

The Museum is located at 925 Camp Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. For more information visit ogdenmuseum.org or call 504.539.9650.