Peace to the Queen

Retrospective Works by Jamel Shabazz

February 4, 2022 - August 6, 2022

Carver Museum & Cultural Center

Exhibition Concept

In Chess, only experienced players can properly deploy and protect their most powerful piece—the queen. She is the key component to countless chess strategies, blocking and tackling for king and country. This becomes an apt analogy when we consider the historic and current role Black and Indigenous women of color have played in the construction of this nation.


Peace to the Queen, is a retrospective exhibition of works that spans the four-decade career of world renowned photographerJamel Shabazz. Portraits of Black,Brown, and Indigenous women of color are centered in this curated selection of images that are candid, artful, and often intimate. Shabazz has developed an iconography with his images that allows viewers to witness the joy, sovereign beauty, and wisdom of these women. Engulfed by the power, sweetness, innocence ,and dignity of these women, we are reminded to cultivate these energies for ourselves.

I wear my crown for everywoman, whose crown has been undermined, unjustly removed, borrowed or stolen.                                                          -Tai Beauchamp

Jamel Shabazz

Humanitarian, author, teacher, and photographer Jamel Shabazz  was born in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of fifteen, he picked up his first camera and started to document his peers. Inspired by photographers Leonard Freed, James Van Der Zee, and Gordon Parks, and their ability to document Black culture, the sought to build on the legacy of their work. During the early 1980s, Shabazz embarked on a mission to document the breadth of life in New York City. From social conditions that plagued many poor and working class communities of color to youth culture he documented the African American community as they are and with

dignity. The parks, streets, and subway system of New York City would serve as spontaneous backdrops for some of his most iconic photographs from which a hallmark style emerged.


In 2018, he was the received the Gordon Parks Foundation Award—a prestigious award for individuals whose art and humanitarian work has enriched the lives of people in the United States and abroad. His work has been shown in Argentina, The Netherlands, England, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, and throughout the U.S. He currently resides in New York City with his family and ever-present collection of cameras where he continues to document various aspects of life in the United States and abroad.

Ja'nell Ajani

Ja’nell N. Ajani is a doctoral candidate in the American Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin. With an emphasis on the estates of Black and Brown artists, Ajani’s research focuses on the amorphous boundary between art, commerce, and artistic legacies.


As a curator, cultural content producer, and the Co-Founder of BASQUIAT: Still Fly @55 Project, Ajani spearheaded a symposium that explored the consumption and commodification of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work, life, and legacy.


Through the development of public programs, Ajani seeks to create opportunities for bold voices that are committed to elevating conversations about art, media, history, and popular culture. She has partnered with the MoMA, Time Square Arts, SXSW, Austin Film Festival, The Brooklyn Museum, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, WBAI Radio 99.5 FM NYC, the Studio Museum of Harlem, and NYU.


Ajani is a graduate of Spelman College. She holds an MA in Africana Studies with a concentration in Museum Studies, as well as, an MA in Studio Art/Photography from New York University.


Carre Adams

Carre Adams is the Chief Curator and Director of the Carver Museum & Cultural Center in Austin, Texas—an institution dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of Black

material culture. His career started in 2003 where he worked at University affiliated galleries and later for private galleries in New York City as a preparator.


Since 2016, he has curated more than 20 exhibitions and worked with an array of artists that includes, Debora Roberts, Hakeem Adewumi, Dawn Okoro, Eto Otitigbe, Beth Consetta-Rubel, John Yancey, Betelhem Makonnen, Adrian Aguilera, Tammie Rubin, Olaniyi Rasheed Akindiya (AKIRASH), and Taja Lindley. 


His curatorial practice, he is also an artistic director, mixed-media artists, filmmaker, and music producer. His creative work explores love, sovereignty, and inheritance. His projects have been featured on Arts in Context produced by PBS, Feministing, Glasstire: Texas Visual Art News & Reviews, Art in America, Sightlines, and Forbes.


A former co-director at allgo, a statewide queer people of color arts and justice organization, he has repeatedly sought professional opportunities that allow him to align his creative pursuits with movements for racial equity and justice.

DIRECTOR, Carver Museum & Cultural Center

Through the preservation and exhibition of African American material culture, history, and aesthetic expression, the Carver Museum works to create a space where the global contributions of all Black people are celebrated.


We accomplish this by telling stories about our local community and connecting those histories to larger narratives about Blackness.


The Museum is housed in a 39,000 square-foot facility that includes four galleries, a conference room, classroom, darkroom, dance studio, 134-seat theatre, and archives. In October of 2021, the Museum celebrated its' 40th birthday.


 Carver Museum & Cultural Center

Hours of Operation| Monday - Wednesday, 10 am - 6pm, Thursday, 10 am - 9pm, Friday, 10 am - 6pm, and Saturday, 10 am - 4pm

Address| 1165 Angelina Street, Austin, Texas 78702 | 512.974.4926 |

 Carver Museum & Cultural Center


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