Skip to Content Skip to Home

... and justice for all

Sherrill Roland, December 2013 Issue, ArtForum International Dec. Issue 2013, Toilet Paper, Coffee Filter, Primer Paint, Kool-Aid, Sharpie Marker, Pencil, Steel; 28 x 24 inches; Courtesy of the artist.

  • About This Exhibition

    America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. In just 40 years, those confined in this country’s prisons and jails has grown 500%. Over 2 million people are incarcerated today. This rise is not due to increased criminal activity, but the callous and inequitable execution of the nation’s laws and public policies. While 37% of the country’s population represents people of color, an incongruous 67% make up the prison population. ... and justice for all illuminates this racially unjust system.

    Throughout history, art has been used as a vehicle to make important statements about social issues. This exhibition threads intimate narratives and social commentary into large scale imagery, video, installation and appropriated photography. Personal accounts of racial profiling and incarceration, family experiences and adverse psychological impacts are explored by artists Deana Lawson, Sherrill Roland, and Dread Scott.

    This exhibition both humanizes – through first-hand experiences – and examines a system that has disproportionately affected people of color. By placing this issue in the forefront, ... and justice for all aspires to create awareness, stimulate conversation, amplify the voices that are often left unheard, and activate change.

  • About The Artists

    Deana Lawson

    Deana Lawson (b. 1979 Rochester, NY) is a photo-based artist whose work examines the body’s ability to channel personal and social histories, addressing themes of familial legacy, community, romance, and spiritual aesthetics. Her practice borrows from simultaneous visual traditions, ranging from photographic and figurative portraiture, social documentary aesthetics, and vernacular family album photographs. Lawson is visually inspired by the materiality of black culture and its expression as seen through the body and in domestic environments. Careful attention is given to lighting and pose, both formal constructs used to transform and intensify representations of power and liberation through the personal and intimate space.

    Lawson received her MFA in Photography from RISD in 2004. Her work will be the subject of a major retrospective jointly organized by MoMA PS1 and the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston in 2020-21, and has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Art Institute of Chicago, Kunsthalle Basel, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Brooklyn Museum of Art, MoMA PS1, Underground Museum in Los Angeles, Studio Museum in Harlem, KIT Museum in Dusseldorf Germany, Light Work Gallery in Syracuse, Cohan & Leslie Gallery in New York, Artists Space in New York, Print Center in Philadelphia, and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta. Lawson is the recipient of the Art Matters Grant, John Gutmann Photography Fellowship, Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant, Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant, and a NYFA Grant. In 2013, Lawson was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and in 2020 was the artist working in photography to win the Hugo Boss Prize.

    Sherrill Roland

    Born in 1984 in Asheville, North Carolina, Sherrill Roland is an interdisciplinary artist and the founder of the acclaimed Jumpsuit Project. He received both his BFA in Design and MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Describing his work, Roland says that he “creates art that challenges ideas around controversial social and political constructs and generates a safe space to process, question, and share.”

    The Jumpsuit Project–developed to raise awareness around issues related to mass incarceration–grew out of the ten months Roland spent in state prison on a wrongful conviction, just as he had started his last year of grad school in 2013. Exonerated of all charges in 2015 and returning to school, he wanted to provoke conversation around issues related to incarceration, including prejudice toward those incarcerated.  For his MFA thesis project, Roland wore an orange jumpsuit every day and documented his interactions until his graduation in spring 2017.

    He has shared this socially engaged art project around the country through speaking engagements at Oakland City Hall, the University of Michigan Law School, Princeton University, and other educational institutions, and as a performance piece at LACE: Los Angeles, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and ARTSpace Raleigh.

    His mixed media work has been featured in several exhibitions at key galleries and museums, including the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, LACE: Los Angeles and The Studio Museum in Harlem. He has served as an Artist-In-Residence at the McColl Center of Art + Innovation in Charlotte and as a Rights of Return USA Fellow.  Roland was also featured in the New York Times article From the Personal to the Political, 19 Artists to Watch Next Year.

    Dread Scott

    Born in Chicago in 1965, Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. His work is exhibited across the US and internationally. In 1989, while a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his interactive piece, What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag?, became the center of national controversy over its transgressive use of the American flag. President G.H.W. Bush called it “disgraceful” and the Senate denounced and outlawed it. Scott became part of a landmark Supreme Court case when he and others defied the new law by burning flags on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. This public conversation confirmed his belief that art, including fine art, could be part of changing the world.

    Scott works in a range of media: performance, installation, video, photography, printmaking and painting. Two threads that connect them are: an engagement with significant social questions and a desire to push formal and conceptual boundaries as part of contributing to artistic development. His projects are presented in venues ranging from museum galleries to street corners, bringing contemporary art to a broad public where the audience is often an active element of the art.

    In 2019, Scott presented Slave Rebellion Reenactment, a community-engaged project that reenacted the largest rebellion of enslaved people in US history. The project was featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Christiane Amanpour on CNN and highlighted by artnet.com as one of the most important artworks of the decade.

    His work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, the Walker Art Center, Jack Shainman Gallery, and Gallery MOMO in Cape Town, South Africa, and is in the collection of the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. He is a 2019 Open Society Foundations Soros Equality Fellow and has received grants and fellowships from United States Artists and Creative Capital Foundation. Scott’s studio is based in Brooklyn.

    Dread Scott image courtesy of Sebastian Kim via "Vanity Fair"

  • Art In This Exhibition

    Sherrill Roland, December 2013 Issue, ArtForum International Dec. Issue 2013, Toilet Paper, Coffee Filter, Primer Paint, Kool-Aid, Sharpie Marker, Pencil, Steel; 28 x 24 inches; Courtesy of the artist.

  • Additional Resources

    Local

    Statewide Resources

    Nationwide Resources

    Non-Fiction Books

    • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
    • The 1619 Project - New York Times Magazine - Project Manager, Nikole Hannah Jones
    • Fourth City: Essays from Prison in America edited by Doran Larson
    • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
    • Money Rock by Pam Kelley
    • Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
    • The Soul Knows No Bars by Drew Leder

    Fiction Books

    • Felon: Poems by Reginald Dwayne Betts
    • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
    • Nickel Boys by Colsen Whitehead

    Films

    Limited Series

    • When They See Us - Ava DuVernay

    Media Coverage

Get the latest from the Gantt & subscribe to our mailing list.

Your support helps the Gantt present exceptional exhibitions, leading scholars and engaging programs that celebrate the African-American story.

Back to top