NEW Bayeté headshot 232988 Catchlight 2022 by christopher michel 4-18-22

Bayeté Ross Smith

New York, NY

Bayeté Ross Smith is a multidisciplinary artist, visual journalist, filmmaker and education worker, working at the intersection of photography, film & video, visual journalism, 3D objects and new media. He is Columbia Law School’s inaugural Artist-In-Residence, a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a TED Resident, an Art For Justice Fund Fellow, a POV/New York Times embedded media maker and CatchLight Global Fellow.

His work is in the collections of The Smithsonian Institution, the Oakland Museum of California, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Brooklyn Museum. He has exhibited internationally with Paris Photo (France), the Goethe Institute (Ghana), Foto Museum (Belgium), the Lianzhou Foto Festival (China), with the U.S. Department of State (South Africa), and America House (Ukraine), among others. His work has been featured at Lincoln Center, the Sheffield Doc Fest, the March on Washington Film Festival and the L.A. Film Festival. His collaborative projects Along The Way and Question Bridge: Black Males have shown at the 2008 and 2012 Sundance Film Festival, respectively. He has created public art projects with organizations such as the Lincoln Center, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Paris Photo, Dysturb, the city of White Plains, NY, The Laundromat Project, the NYC Parks Department, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the Jerome Foundation, the Hartford YMCA, The California Judicial Council and Columbia Law School. His work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, National Geographic Learning, PBS, Facing History & Ourselves, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and Charlotte Observer, in addition to books such as Dis:Integration: The Splintering of Black America (2010) and Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present (2009).

In addition to his creative work in art and media, Bayeté is also a board member of Project Implicit at Harvard and Self Evident Education.

Art of Justice

Bayeté Ross Smith is a multidisciplinary artist, visual journalist, filmmaker and education worker, working at the intersection of photography, film & video, visual journalism, 3D objects and new media.

Artist Bio

Art of Justice is a series of physical and virtual installations, collaborative workshops, and programs that intervene in the physical spaces occupied by the legal community; primarily law schools, law firms and D.A.’s offices. It positions the artist as a social innovator and connects art and media to individuals and institutions that aim to safeguard a functioning democracy and are poised to create social change—systematically and at scale. Specifically, Art of Justice addresses how cultural perspectives and biases shape our interpretation of narratives and, in turn, the concept of truth in policy creation and implementation, the judicial system, journalism, visual storytelling and history. In a world where information abounds, our unique cultural backgrounds deeply influence how we perceive and frame the stories we encounter. Each of us brings a distinct lens through which we view and understand shared information, leading to a multiplicity of interpretations. This directly leads to examining how unconscious bias, and inaccurate historical narratives, impact the perception of those entering and working in legal professions and public policy, including law students, lawyers, and District Attorneys.

Through a series of exhibitions and programs based on Bayeté Ross Smith’s artwork, with input from colleagues and peers in multiple fields, Art of Justice addresses the impact of cultural perspective and unconscious bias on issues such as structural inequity, criminal justice, economic policy and mass incarceration. Utilizing projects such as Our Kind of People, Taking AIM, Passing, Red Summers VR and Hip Hop 50 Boombox: Sugar and Cotton, Ross Smith installs art and media in law schools, DA’s offices, and law firm, and directly engages legal professionals during their education and professional careers. Ross Smith aims to expand the lens through which they view the contemporary social landscape. These artistic interventions will create participatory experiences that do not tell audiences what to think, but create experiences that force them to question their preexisting beliefs.

Award Year

In Progress