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Surrendered (A Harrowing Descent)

EJ Hill (b. 1985) Surrendered (A Harrowing Descent), 2016 Acrylic, collage, and photo transfer on birch panel 24 × 18 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Acquisition Committee 2016.34

In Surrendered (A Harrowing Descent), EJ Hill juxtaposes images of protesters with found photographs of children on a roller coaster. The work builds upon Hill’s lifelong interest in roller coasters, a visual he revisits in his series of collages and in A Monumental Offering of Potential Energy (2016), his endurance performance at the Studio Museum while he was an artist in residence. Here, the upraised arms of the protesters mirror those of the children, and as in his performance, the roller coaster image symbolizes the constant overcoming of adversity—the rise and fall of oppression and liberation—faced while living within the structural racism of U.S. society.