A Conversation featuring Local & International Artists

Join us for a conversation with image makers and activators, innovating at the intersection of art and climate action.
6PM: Join us for a pre-event guided tour of the exhibition led by co-curators Susan Meiselas and Jeroen de Vries, featuring photographers Daniel Beltrá, David Breashears, Gideon Mendel, and Jamey Stillings
6:30 – 8PM: Welcome remarks by Susan Meiselas followed by brief presentation/performance by each panelist to frame conversation & share their work followed by moderated discussion between panelists and audience Q&A


OnRaé Watkins, Smithsonian FUTURES/Freedom Futures Collective (Moderator)
Tarik ‘Konshens The MC’ Davis, Hip-Hop Artist/ Songwriter/ Educator & Speaker
Benjamin Petit, French photojournalist & organizer of Dysturb/#ReframeClimate Initiative
Gideon Mendel, German/South African COAL + ICE photographer
Sari Nordman, Finnish performance artist

With gracious thanks to SPAIN arts & culture as a supporter of Daniel Beltrá’s participation.


Tarik ‘Konshens The MC’ Davis is an international hip-hop artist, songwriter, Global Arts educator, Youth advocate & Inspirational Speaker from Washington D.C. He is Founder & CEO of Edutainment Unlimited LLC (Arts Education/Entertainment Co.); former Governor on the Grammy Chapter Board; current voting member of the Grammy Recording Academy; Grammy Museum Artist Educator; UNCCD Land Ambassador; and U.S Cultural Ambassador (State Department). He is also the MC and founder of ‘Classically Dope’, a classical, hip-hop group that merges hip-hop lyrics with original classical arrangements. Konshens has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and has been featured on Fox, ABC and CBS networks, and in the Washingtonian Magazine, The Washington Post and others. As an artist and innovator, Konshens The MC stands at the forefront of the evolution of hip-hop.

Gideon Mendel’s intimate style of image-making and long-term commitment to socially engaged projects has earned international recognition. Born in Johannesburg in 1959, Mendel began his career as a news and ‘struggle’ photographer documenting the final years of apartheid. In 1991 he moved to London, and continued to respond to global concerns, especially HIV/ AIDS. Since 2007, Mendel has been working on Drowning World, an art and advocacy project about flooding that is his personal response to our climate crisis. His work has been widely published in National Geographic, Geo and the Guardian Weekend. Mendel received the inaugural Jackson Pollock Prize for Creativity and the Greenpeace Photo Award. Shortlisted for the Prix Pictet in 2015 and 2019, he has also received the Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, the Amnesty International Media Award, and six World Press awards. Mendel has recently developed some new projects addressing the Covid-19 crisis and has extended his work on global warming to include the element of fire.

Sari Nordman, a NY-based interdisciplinary artist, has created public art projects, video works and dance performances. She has exhibited and performed her works for Art in Odd Places, The Immigrant Artist Biennial, Irondale Center, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Performance Mix Festival and SHIM Network. Nordman has enjoyed residencies at Atlantic Center for The Arts, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Catwalk Institute and Tofte Lake Center in the US. She’s a recipient of American-Scandinavian Society Cultural Grant, and Finlandia Foundation and The Puffin Foundation grants. Her works have been reviewed in publications and artist talks such as Art Spiel, Hunters Point Library Environmental Education Center, Women Cinemakers and in several Finnish publications. She holds a M.F.A. from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.

Benjamin Petit has covered news and humanitarian crises as a photojournalist for over 10 years before leading Dysturb. His work has been published in the New York Times, Le Monde, Stern, Vice, and Paris Match. Benjamin holds a Master’s degree from the ENS Louis Lumière in Paris and from the International Center of Photography in New York as a Fulbright fellow. Benjamin was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University in 2018-2019, where he explored innovative forms of news dissemination, mainly through performances in public spaces. Benjamin was part of the jury for the AfterMath Project Prize 2019, and the Gebran Tueni Foundation Prize in 2015.

OnRaé LaTeal Watkins (moderator) is a public programmer and creative arts educator with almost a decade of experience in out-of-school programming. She serves as both the Smithsonian Institution’s Arts and Industries Building’s (AIB) Programming and Community Engagement Lead. In her role at AIB she leads all public program curation for the Smithsonian’s groundbreaking exhibition, FUTURES. In her previous role as the Senior Manager of ARTLAB, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s teen programs and digital arts studio, she tripled the program’s yearly attendance numbers and create The Salon, the museum’s first large scale public program dedicated to uplifting the cultural significance and aesthetic value of Black hair. Outside of the Smithsonian, she serves as a music producer and cultural organizer who founded the Black Girls Handgames Project and Freedom Futures Collective.