Pepón Osorio Grief, Trauma, Love: A Discussion between Nicole Fleetwood and Pepón Osorio

MoMA Magazine Jan 10, 2022

Currently on view at MoMA, Pepón Osorio’s installation Badge of Honor, a key work in the artist’s production, is prescient in its portrayal of the devastating impact of incarceration on a family from Newark, New Jersey, during the mid-1990s. Osorio’s practice is broadly committed to community and to critical engagement in issues of race and social justice. Born out of the artist’s background in social work, performance, video, and installation, Badge of Honor provides a physically and emotionally charged space brought to life with a moving video conversation between an incarcerated father at New Jersey’s Northern State Prison and his teenage son at their family home. Filming over several weeks, Osorio traveled back and forth between the prison and the family’s residence, sharing footage with the father and son to capture a distanced yet intimate exchange, as they grappled with their separation and its impact on their family. The resulting work incorporates two separate projections of the father and son, which face opposite sides of a wall separating two dramatically opposed spaces: a prison cell and a teenager’s bedroom.

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