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The Bass announces the opening of Jamilah Sabur: The Harvesters, an exhibition of new works by the artist on view October 13, 2022 through April 10, 2023.

Working across various disciplines including performance, visual artwork, video and installation, Jamilah Sabur explores the intersections of geology, climatology, geography and memory with dynamics of power and capitalism.

For The Harvesters, Sabur weaves a series of interconnected works into an exhibition that confronts the labor of extraction, positing play and work as economies of physical movement. Sabur examines climate change, particularly long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns, as an expression of geological rhythms and economies.

The title of the exhibition is a reference to the eponymous Pieter Bruegel painting from 1565. In Bruegel’s painting we see adults harvesting wheat in the foreground, while a sport game is played by youths in the mid-ground and an active bay filled with ships is in the background. For Sabur the painting is of particular resonance as the central focus is the late summer’s heat. Sabur found herself reexamining the painting in context of the current energy crisis and the record-breaking heatwave the planet has experienced this year.

Sabur uses the theme of harvesting as double entendre to connect with her ongoing interest in mining and mineral extraction, especially in the context of post-colonial states and their conception of boundaries. Another idea present in the Bruegel painting and explored in Sabur’s work is movement, the physical labor of harvesting, the worker’s sweeping scythe to cut wheat, expressing rhythmic movements of embodiment. In one painting this figure is paired with a parabolic shape, referring to the Rossby wave, a planetary wave within the Earth’s Ocean and atmosphere formed as a result of the rotation of the planet.

Taking the subject matter of the painting as a starting point Sabur asks us to see what history cannot provide, inviting a glimpse of into the notes in the historical margins. Sabur examines the physical choreography of work and play understood by laborers and forming tenuous connections across cultures and geographies demonstrating a human truth beyond material capital.

Jamilah Sabur: The Harvesters is curated by Leilani Lynch, Former Curator.


Jamilah Sabur (b. 1987, St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica) lives and works in Brussels. Metaphysics, geology, and memory are recurrent themes in the work of Jamilah Sabur. Making critical contributions to the discursive spaces of labor and economies of movement, Sabur engages imaging on a planetary scale to re-calibrate our understanding of place, time and history.

Sabur’s work has been shown at galleries and institutions such as Pérez Art Museum, Miami; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, and Fondation PHI, Montréal. Her recent solo exhibitions include Eltanin, Broadway, New York (2022); DADA Holdings, Nina Johnson, Miami (2021); La montagne fredonne sous l’océan/The mountain sings underwater, Fondation PHI, Momenta Biennale, Montréal, Québec (2021); Observations: Selected Works by Jamilah Sabur, University of Maryland Art Gallery (2020). Sabur earned a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore (2009), and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego (2014). Her work is included in the permanent collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art, Pérez Art Museum Miami, The Bass Museum of Art, University of Maryland, and TD Bank Group.


The exhibition is part of the Knight Art Commissions Program funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit KF.org.

Generous support for this exhibition is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, the mission of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is the advancement of the visual arts. The foundation manages an innovative and flexible grants program while also preserving Warhol’s legacy through creative and responsible licensing policies and extensive scholarly research for ongoing catalogue raisonné projects. To date, the foundation has given nearly $260 million in cash grants to over 1,000 arts organizations in 49 states and abroad and has donated 52,786 works of art to 322 institutions worldwide.