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Kimmel Windows Exhibition – Passport to the Past, 2022

An image of colorful posters designed by art education students outside the Kimmel Center at NYU

Passport to the Past, a public exhibition, was on view from January to March 2022  at New York University Kimmel Windows Gallery on the corner of Washington Square East and West 4th Street.

This exhibition makes visible the hidden history of resistance and resilience of women, indigenous communities, African-Americans, LGBTQ+, Latinx, Asian Americans around NYU as well as direct actions NYU students took in the sixties and seventies.

The exhibition acknowledges that NYU sits on the occupied territory of the Lenni Lenape and along with the Lenape, other Native American tribes used this place for gathering, trade, healing, and travel. This public exhibition was an outgrowth of a collective project designed by graduate students in the class, Artistic Activism as Radical Research in the Department of Art and Art Professions that led to a walking tour designed for freshman and graduate student orientation at NYU. The project was redesigned by Rhea Cruedo, an alum of the Art, Education, and Community practice program, who was a student in the initial class along with Dipti Desai who organized this iteration. 

The buildings, parks and streets within the NYU vicinity literally hold this invisible history of resistance and resilience in their architectural structure. History is part of our daily lives as we walk through public and private spaces and therefore, any discussion of history and its enduring effect on human life has to acknowledge that we can never fully separate our relationships to the past from the present and future as well from our bodies and emotions. These buildings, streets, and parks surrounding NYU serve as an entry point into understanding the past, which is complex and not always progressive, however, it shows us how power impacts our daily lives in subtle yet profound ways. 

This exhibition opened another educational space at NYU where people can discuss and reflect upon the narratives about the past that surround us. Learning about this history of resistance ignites our radical imagination to envision, fight for, and create spaces for a more just and equitable society for all of us today as these marginalized communities did in the past. 

See the NYU press release for Passport to the Past