In Empathy We Trust: Elizabeth Kleinveld and Epaul Julien

E2: Elizabeth Kleinveld and Epaul Julien
In Empathy We Trust
October 24, 2014 – January 25, 2015
Location: New Orleans City Hall – 1300 Perdido Street
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm

Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to announce that New Orleans artists Elizabeth Kleinveld and Epaul Julien (E2) will have a solo exhibition of their work at City Hall as a part of Prospect 3, the third edition of the international art biennial in New Orleans. In the tradition of the great international exhibitions, such as the Venice Biennale and the Bienal de São Paulo, Prospect New Orleans invites leading contemporary artists from around the globe to exhibit at venues that include major cultural institutions, as well as non-arts venues, and public spaces.

While working together on the Before During After project (Louisiana Photographer’s Respond to Hurricane Katrina), photographers Kleinveld & Julien decided to embark on a new body of work in response to the inequalities that were exposed during Hurricane Katrina. This natural and man-made disaster brought social inequities in Louisiana into vivid focus, and Kleinveld and Julien discovered a mutual interest in issues of social justice. Kleinveld & Julien, both from New Orleans and working under the artist name (E2), aim to bring about a discussion on the consequences of stereotypes and how they can lead to prejudice and discrimination. In order to bring about this dialogue, E2 decided to take iconic images and remake them with a twist. Beginning with the Flemish Primitives and spanning almost 600 years of art history, highlights of their In Empathy We Trust series include works based on: Rembrandt’s the Jewish Bride (1665), Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665), David’s Death of Marat (1793), and Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe (1863). In fact, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring will be shown at the New Orleans Museum of Art during Prospect 3.

This exhibition is the premiere of E2’s latest piece, Ode to Faith Ringgold’s Café des Artistes. Until this year, E2 has taken their inspiration from iconic images of the Western European canon, from the 1400’s to the 1800’s. Art historian Mora Beauchamp Byrd challenged E2 to expand to the African Diaspora which they have done with Cafe Des Artistes and in doing so began the inclusion of 20th century art in their inspiration. Creating the piece was a collaborative effort that involved multiple photo sessions and comprehensive dialogue with the sitters which included artists, art historians, and museum curators and directors. The final piece also involved extensive collaboration for the post production and incorporated painting, quilting, and digital manipulation. E2 enjoyed this group effort and working with artists from the Louisiana community to birth this piece. Sitters include Dr. Mora Beauchamp-Byrd (art historian), Tina Freeman (photographer), Russell Lord (curator NOMA), Richard McCabe (curator Ogden), Katrina Andry (painter), Gus Bennett (photographer), Kleinveld and Julian, and many other local artists and members of the Louisiana art community.

Artists have embraced the social mission of Prospect New Orleans and created projects that resonate deeply with the City’s unique history, culture, people, and institutions. For Kleinveld and Julien, holding their exhibition at City Hall is a wonderful opportunity for them to further the discourse on typecasting in New Orleans and the functionality of City Hall to promote and enhance the quality of life in the community. E2 hopes that In Empathy We Trust will encourage viewers to put themselves in the shoes of someone from another race or culture and to broaden our understanding of the feelings of others.

For more information, please contact Emily Siekkinen at

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