The Price of Half-Freedom: Manuel de Gerrit de Reus; Enslaved, Condemned, Pardoned and Freed, 1641-1644

September 15 – December 22, 2022

Works by Jean-Marc Superville Sovak

The Price of Half-Freedom is the story of the first free Black residents in what was to become New York and the events that led to their emancipation: a murder, a trial, and a failed execution.
I believe the story of Manuel de Gerrit de Reus exemplifies the kind of Black solidarity and Black resistance worthy of our memorialization.”
– Jean-Marc Superville Sovak
Manuel de Gerrit de Reus #7 (after Rubens) 2022, printed fabric
Manuel de Gerrit de Reus #9 (after Rubens), 2022, printed fabric

The Price of Half Freedom: Video
Featuring Marieken Cochius

Jean-Marc Superville Sovak, a graduate of Bard College’s M.F.A. program, is a multidisciplinary artist and teaching professional whose work is deeply rooted in the history and community around him. His public works include projects that retrace the speculative steps of the Underground Railroad across historic sites in the Hudson Valley, designing memorials to Afro-Dutch pioneers, and creating oral history projects. His practice “a-Historical Landscapes” involves altering 19th-century landscape engravings to include images borrowed from contemporaneous Anti-Slavery publications. As a Visiting Artist and Lecturer, Jean-Marc has used his work as a platform to discuss topics such as “The American Picturesque in the Age of Abolitionism” at colleges, universities, and cultural institutions, such as the Loeb Arts Center at Vassar College, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, Bard College Experimental Humanities Collaborative Network (EHCN), Berrie Arts Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey, Westchester Community College Art Gallery, and Olana State Historic Site.