Visual Culture Lecture Series

Visual Culture Lecture Series 2021–2022

All events are free and open to the public

Tuesday February 1, 2022 | MOIRA VILLIARD | Art Education | 6pm in Solon Campus Center 120 and on zoom

Moira Villiard Headshot

Moira Villiard is a dynamic multidisciplinary visual artist working in a variety of artistic genres, including portraiture, illustration, graphic and digital design and as a muralist.  She also is a community organizer, curator and passionate arts educator concentrating her efforts around issues of equity and justice including: arts access (giving voice to underrepresented communities within the arts), creative placemaking, environmental sustainability, youth empowerment, and acknowledgement of Indigenous land, culture, and history. Villiard is a Fond du Lac Ojibwe direct descendent and grew up on the Fond du Lac Reservation in Cloquet, MN. She received her BA Degree  in  Communicating  Arts  (Global  Studies Minor) from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2016.

Moira (pronounced "Mee-Ree") grew up in the wetlands of the Fond du Lac Reservation and until recently worked as the Arts & Cultural Programming Coordinator for the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO). Currently she is focusing on creating her artwork full-time and working as a freelance consultant, designer, speaker, and grant-writer. She was broadly recognized in 2019, when she received the 2019 Duluth NAACP Take a Stand for the Revolution award, 2019 Emerging City Champions fellowship, Forecast Public Art 2019 Early-Career Project Grant, 2019 YWCA Women of Distinction award, and The Duluth News Tribune 20 under 40 award. Her work has been featured in numerous shows in Duluth and around Minnesota, including her recent solo show, Rights of the Child at Zeitgeist, and group shows Beyond Borders at MacRostie Arts Center and We the People at the Minnesota Museum of American Art.

Tuesday February 8, 2022 | Sara Blaylock | Art History | 6pm in Solon Campus Ctr 120 & on zoom

Headshot of Sara Blaylock

Sara Blaylock joined the Art History faculty in the Department of Art and Design at UMD in 2017, after completing her PhD in Visual Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. To date, the bulk of her research has concerned the experimental art, film, and visual culture of the German Democratic Republic during the 1980s. Broader interests include official cultural policy in state socialism, the art and visual culture of the Cold War East and West, fiction and documentary film from the Eastern Bloc, as well as theories of aesthetics and politics, visuality, and feminism.

Blaylock's research has appeared in a number of academic and arts forums, both in English and in translation. Her first book Parallel Public: Experimental Art in Late East Germany is with the MIT Press (2022). Its publication coincides with an exhibition she co-curated with Dr. Sarah James, "Anti-Social Art: Experimental Practices in Late East Germany," held at the Tweed Museum of Art from January 18 - May 15, 2022

Tuesday March 15, 2022 | Ian Moore and Nancy Sims | Discussion Fair-use & Copyright | 6pm on zoom

Headshot of Ian Moore
Headshot of Merry Rendahl

Ian Moore is a reference librarian at the Katherine Martin Library at UMD. He collaborates with faculty and staff in the humanities and fine arts areas. (

Nancy Sims is the "University of Minnesota's Libraries' subject specialist on copyright issues." She is a librarian and a lawyer who notes that she is "fascinated by the pervasiveness of copyright issues in modern life." (


Tuesday March 22, 2022 | Rob Wittig | Graphic Design | 6pm on zoom

Headshot of Rob Wittig

Rob Wittig plays at the crossroads of literature, graphic design and digital culture. He co-founded the legendary IN.S.OMNIA electronic bulletin board with the Surrealist-style literary and art group Invisible Seattle.  From this came a Fulbright grant to study the writing and graphic design of electronic literature with philosopher Jacques Derrida in Paris. Rob's book based on that work, Invisible Rendezvous, was published Wesleyan University Press. He then embarked on a series of illustrated and designed email and web fictions. Alongside his creative projects, Rob has worked in major publishing and graphic design firms in Chicago, leading R&D teams.  Rob holds a Master’s in Digital Culture at the University of Bergen, Norway. He is currently developing high-design, collaborative fiction in a form called netprov, networked improvised narrative. Rob directs Meanwhile… Netprov Studio,  along with Mark C. Marino. His book Netprov: Networked Improvised Literature for the Classroom and Beyond appeared in Fall 0f 2021 from Amherst College Press.


Tuesday, April 5, 2022 | 6pm | Yahya Rushdi & Nishant Saldanha | Annual Student Exhibition Jurors | 6pm on zoom


headshot of Yayha Rushdi

Yahya is a graphic designer based in Madison, WI, but originally from Duluth, MN. He graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. Yahya started his professional career working as a production artist at Super Studio, a division of the advertising agency Flint Group, in Duluth, working on clients like Bobcat, St. Luke's Hospital and the UMD. Currently, he is a studio artist at Hiebing, an integrated marketing and advertising agency, working on clients like Culver's, Doctors Without Borders, and Wisconsin Department of Tourism. In addition to his role at Hiebing, Yahya works on many freelance projects and volunteers his time to initiatives like Design Like Mad, Island of Brilliance and the Duluth Winter Villag


headshot of Nishant Saldanha

Nishant Saldanha studied art and design at Central Saint Martins, London before moving to California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, where he majored in filmmaking. After working in the animation industry and being part of the independent comics community in America, he moved back to his ancestral land, Goa, to pursue an art practice of his own. Nishant’s work aims to operate outside the confines of set practices to create new forms with which to experience images and includes working with photography, writing, book making and comics making. In the U.S. he has worked with Comic Arts Los Angeles, Netflx and Vice USA, and in 2019 was the selected Artist and Book Endpapers Designer for The Best American Comics, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. In India his work has been shown at such venues as the Goa Open Arts Festival and the Serendipity Arts Festival and he has worked with The International Film Festival of India, The Museum of Christian Art Goa, and Blackmarket Restaurant Panjim. In 2019 he received the Serendipity Goa Artist’s Grant for his installation of photographs for Form, Metaphor, Memory, curated by Mario D’Souza. 


Tuesday September 14, 2021 | Wing Young Huie | Photography | 6pm in Solon Campus Center 120 & on zoom

Wing Young Huie Headshot

Photographer Wing Young Huie has captured the complex cultural realities of American society for over 35 years. His work has been shown in museums globally and in epic street installations, providing a collective window and mirror of the them who are really us. It is also in classrooms  where his  work  has been  most impactful, showing students the various ways he's engaged thousands of strangers, continually confronting his own assumptions. The StarTribune named him Artist of the Year in 2000 and in 2018 he received the McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, also winning a Minnesota Book Award for his seventh and most personal book, Chinese-ness. He says of his work, “Whether in epic public installations or international museum exhibitions, my intent is to create up-to-the-minute societal mirrors    of who we are, seeking to reveal not only what is hidden, but also what is plainly visible and seldom noticed.

Tuesday September 28, 2021 | Ari Woeste | Graphic Design | 6pm on zoom |

Ari Woests against hazy mountain landscape

Ari is a multi-disciplinary visual artist living in Seattle, WA specializing in art direction, animation, lettering, and type– working with clients such as General Mills, POLO Ralph Lauren, & Walmart. She hosts her own lettering workshop series. In 2019 she began painting abstract forms as creative relief from the demands of being a freelance creative and as a way to process trauma away from the linguistic/messaging expectations of lettering. She says exploring this medium has opened other creative doors she otherwise may not have approached: animation, beadwork, and hopefully many more to come.

Tuesday October 19, 2021 | 6pm in Solon Camus Center 120 & on zoom | SHENEQUA | 3D 

SHENEQUA headshot

SHENEQUA is an Artpreneur who received her Masters of Design in Fashion, Body, & Garment at School of the Art Institute of Chicago under the mentorship of Nick Cave and Liat Smestad. Her solo exhibition Woven Narratives was on view at Haw Contemporary (Stockyards) in Kansas City, Missouri in 2019. She has exhibited her works in Performing Labor at Patricia Sweetow Gallery in San Francisco, CA, The Space We Grow Into at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL, and Mane N’ Tail at The Luminary in St. Louis, MO, to name a few. A Featured Artist for Ties that Bind in American Craft Magazine and in the Kansas City Star, she spoke about her process of weaving synthetic-hair in relationship to the African- American Hair Experience. Notable lectures include the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, the Surface Design Association, and the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. She was 2014’s Windgate Fellow of the Center for Craft and 2017-2018’s recipient of the inaugural YoungArts Daniel Arsham Fellowship, presented by the Ridinger-McLaughlin Family.

Tuesday November 16, 2021 | 6pm | Tamara J. Walker | Art History| on zoom

Headshot of Tamara J. Walker

Tamara J. Walker is an historian of race, gender, and slavery in Latin America. Her research has received support from the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the American Association of University Women and the John Carter Brown Library, and has appeared in such publications as Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and  Post-Slave Studies,   Safundi:   The   Journal   of   South  African   and   American   Studies, Gender   &  History,   The   Journal of Family  History,  and  Souls.  Her first book,  Exquisite  Slaves:  Race,  Clothing  and  Status  in  Colonial  Lima,  was published by Cambridge University Press and received the 2018 Harriet Tubman Prize. She is currently at work on two new book projects, one on the history of slavery and piracy, and the other on black subjects in Latin-American visual culture, which will be published by the University of Texas Press.

Tuesday November 30, 2021 | THOMAS E. RASSIEUR | 6 pm in Solon Campus Ctr 120 and on zoom

headshot of Thomas E. Rassieur

Tom is John E. Andrus III Curator of Prints and Drawings and Prints and Drawings department head at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. He came to Mia in 2009 from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he was the Pamela and Peter Voss Curator of Prints and Drawings. He has curated or co-curated thirty exhibitions, most prominently those dealing with Rembrandt.  Rembrandt's Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher opened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2003 before traveling to the Art Institute of Chicago. Rembrandt in America opened at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, in 2011, and continued to the Cleveland Art Museum and Mia. His writings on Rembrandt's creative process as an etcher formed the basis of the Rembrandt House Museum's exhibition celebrating the artist's 400th birthday. Rassieur has also curated or co-curated exhibitions on German Renaissance prints, with an emphasis on Albrecht Dürer, for Mia, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Nagoya. He coauthored Master Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and he has brought back to light the work of Richard Holzschuh, a talented storybook illustrator whose last exhibition was in 1929. With four German organizations, he has organized the exhibition Martin Luther: Art and the  Reformation,  marking the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses.