The Links, Incorporated is an international not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to enrich, sustain, and ensure the cultural and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. Founded in 1946 and comprised of more than 16,000 members, all women of color, the organization is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations.
La Capitale (LA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated was establised by twenty eight professional women in 1986. The organization’s volunteer efforts are focused on serving the East and West Baton Rouge communities as well as communities in the surrounding parishes. La Capitale (LA) Links centers its service on five facets: services to youth, the arts, national trends and services, international trends and services, and health and human services.
This exhibition is generously sponsored by La Capitale (LA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. In supporting fine art exhibitions by African American artists and artists of color, they hope to facilitate critical discussion and exploration among Baton Rouge’s citizens, especially citizens of color. The contributions of artists of color expand artistic discussion by bringing in vital perspectives, offering new dialogs central to understanding and appreciating the past, present, and future of art and artistic creation.
“We believe that Empathy binds people together, decreasing judgement and stereotypes that can lead to prejudice, discrimination and violence. We hope that by linking this to our work, people will understand that awareness of the other and the ability to put yourself in their shoes will create a more harmonious society.”
In Empathy We Trust is a collaborative series created by the artist duo E2- Elizabeth Kleinveld and Epaul Julien. The two artists began their journey in 2010 after meeting while working on the traveling exhibition and book project, Before (During) After: Louisiana Photographers Respond to Hurricane Katrina. When they met, Kleinveld and Julien recognized in one another a shared interest in social issues and racial and socioeconomic inequality.
In Empathy We Trust was born soon after this meeting. The series, developed from the shared experiences of each artist, takes aim at iconic images from art history. Master works from artists such as Jan Van Eyck, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, and Norman Rockwell, are reimagined and recast by E2 with characters of different races, genders, and identities. With no one group the sole focus of their examinations, E2 is able to challenge many preconceptions in fine art, history, and everyday life. They replace feminine characters with masculine ones, white subjects with subjects of color, and vice versa, all with the goal of subverting the viewer’s expectations. The resulting images present not just a more inclusive reimagining of art history but aim to carry the visual challenge, that of pushing past perceived notions, beyond the gallery and into the wider world.
E2 has exhibited their work nationally and internationally. In Empathy We Trust has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art (London), Palazzo Fortuny (Venice), Photoville (New York), New Orleans Museum of Art (New Orleans), Ogden Museum of Southern Art (New Orleans), and many other institutions. Their work belongs to numerous collections including: Benetton Collection (Italy), Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Italy), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), Hilliard Art Museum (Lafayette), and others.