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Book Release and Conversation with Filmmaker, Artist, and Author, Adrian Burrell

May 4 from 1:00 pm 2:30 pm


Third-generation Bay Area filmmaker, artist, and author, Adrian L. Burrell will present select works from his first monograph, Sugarcane & Lighting (Minor Matters, 2023) and his latest short film, The Saints Step in Kongo Time.

The book and film, along with two recent solo exhibitions in 2023 in San Jose and San Francisco, respectively, are all part of an ongoing research project visualizing Burrell’s family’s experiences with plantocracy and sugar production after the Louisiana Purchase. Images span Senegal to Jim Crow Louisiana to modern-day Oakland through archival and contemporary photographs, dispelling long-held tropes of the realizations of the American Dream.  

Burrell is motivated by possibilities of healing the past, as well as realizing what may be envisioned in the present and future. 

A conversation with OMCA’s Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs, Makeda Best, will follow the presentation. Burrell’s book will be available for purchase and signing. 

This event is free and open to the public with advanced registration

About Adrian Burrell

Adrian Burrell (b. 1990, Oakland, California) is a third-generation Oakland artist utilizing photography, film, installation and experimental media. His work examines issues of race, class, and intergenerational dynamics, inviting moments where collective storytelling can be a site for remembering. 

Burrell has lived and worked on four continents. He is a US Marine Corps veteran, and a graduate of San Francisco Art Institute (BFA, film) and Stanford University (MFA, Department of Art & Art History). At Stanford he lectured, served as the Black Graduate Student Community Outreach Chair, and was a visiting artist with Stanford’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts.

He is also a resident at SF FILM, was a YBCA Creative Cohort fellow (2021-22), and was selected for the renowned Black Rock Residency in Dakar, Senegal, in 2022.

His first solo exhibition was on view at the ICA San Jose, California, from September 16, 2022–February 26, 2023; his second solo exhibition, also in the Bay Area, was on view at the Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco from October to December, 2023. His work has recently been featured at the Format Festival in Darby, United Kingdom, and at Fotofest in Houston. Burrell’s work has been featured through The New Yorker, BlackStar Film Festival, and PopUp Magazine (2022); Photoville, New York and the Pingyao International Photography Festival, China (2020); and at SXSW (2013), among others. In 2021, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art acquired “It’s After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet?” This collective self-portrait examines normalized violence inflicted on Black lives.


Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is committed to providing programs that are accessible, welcoming, and inclusive of our community. Wheelchairs, sensory inclusive devices, and additional amenities are available for checkout on a first come, first served basis at the Ticketing Desk. To request other accommodations, like American Sign Language (ASL), Cantonese, Spanish or another language interpreter, please email [email protected] at least three weeks before the event. Learn more about our accessibility options.