For Immediate Release
(Staten Island, NY – July 6, 2023) The Staten Island Museum presents a pioneering exhibition, Taking Care: The “Black Angels” of Seaview Hospital opening to the public on January 25, 2024.
Taking Care highlights the groundbreaking work, lives, and legacy of the “Black Angels,” the Black nursing staff at Seaview Hospital in Staten Island who risked their lives to break racial barriers and care for tuberculosis patients.
At the center of this exhibition is Back and Song, a meditative film and art installation by artists Elissa Blount Moorhead and Bradford Young. This kaleidoscopic installation reflects on the manner in which health and wellness are part and parcel of the American Black experience from cradle to grave. Back and Song considers the labor and care provided by generations of Black healers—doctors, nurses, midwives, morticians, therapists, and health aides—and their histories of contribution to, and resistance against, the flawed and discriminatory structures of Western medicine.
Through artwork, archival images, historic objects, and oral histories including an interview with surviving “Black Angel” Virginia Allen, Taking Care connects this significant local history to a larger narrative of Black healthcare workers, healers, and caregivers.
About the Artists:
Elissa Blount Moorhead is an artist, mother, and visual storyteller exploring the poetics of Black quotidian life. She has created public art, books, exhibitions, and images for the last 25 years. She creates films and time-based installations, such as Back and Song, As of A Now, and Jay Z’s 4:44 video. Elissa has been recognized with the Sundance Institute | Comedy Central Comedy Fellowship, Saul Zaentz Innovation Fellowship, US Artists Fellowship, Creative Capital Award, and is currently developing a project in the Sundance Episodic Lab.
Artist, director and Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young is known for his artful, poetic and humanistic visual style, as showcased in his cinematography for film and television including Ava DuVernay’s Selma and When They See Us, Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story and Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, for which he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography in 2017— the first African American to be nominated in that category.
Scholar Advisory Panel:
Public Historian, Professional Genealogist, and Doctoral student, College of Staten Island, CUNY
Author of forthcoming book The Black Angels: The Untold Story of the Nurses who Helped Cure Tuberculosis, published by Penguin Random House
Dr. Rita Reynolds
Associate Professor/Chair, History Department, Wagner College
Senior Librarian, Instruction and Archives, Wagner College
Curated by Rylee Eterginoso and Gabriella Leone
Major support for Taking Care: The Black Angels of Seaview Hospital is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.