IFPDA Curatorial Intern Jamillah Gabriel, 2018. Photo by Julia Nucci Kelly
Jamillah Gabriel and Maureen Warren discuss prints from the 1970 SAIC portfolio, 2018. Photo by Julia Nucci Kelly

KAM: Hi Jamillah, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I'm a second year doctoral student in the School of Information Sciences with graduate minors in African American Studies and Museum Studies. When I'm not studying or interning, you can find me volunteering at the Champaign Public Library or working with my book subscription box business, Call Number.

KAM: Why were you interested in coming to work at KAM? What did you want to learn most?

I have a background in library science and museum studies, and have worked in many libraries but not that many museums. I hoped to gain more experience in museums and working with museum collections, while also utilizing my skills in object research and metadata collection. I was also excited about working directly with the print collection and learning more about KAM's extensive holdings.

KAM: Have there been parts of the work that have surprised you?

This summer, I worked with the Chicago Portfolio print collection for an upcoming exhibition, researching the artwork, and gathering metadata. I didn't have any expectations other than to be exposed to wonderful prints! But what has surprised me most is having the opportunity to contribute to an exhibition by writing labels for artworks I've personally selected for display.

As part of the IFPDA curatorial internship, I selected three prints for display. The pieces I selected were a trio of untitled works from the 1970 Chicago Screen Print Portfolio, by Rodney Baker, Walter Gardner, Jr., and Lester Lashley.

I specifically wanted to feature African American artists, and I liked how the three prints play off each other, using black and white, color, and portraiture. The prints were made in 1970, a politically charged period in Chicago when young people were becoming increasingly involved in political movements.

KAM: What would you tell other students or researchers about working with the museum? What do you wish more people knew?

I’d make people aware of the wealth of resources KAM has to offer that are completely free: collections, exhibitions, and events throughout the year. KAM even has free student membership, a benefit they should definitely take advantage of.