Arno Maris Gallery, Westfield State University
My solo exhibition Ten Little Nigger Girls opened at Westfield State University to a very different type of atmosphere than that of the more talkative and openly interactive feeling at Art For the Soul Gallery.
One can never really predict the kind of impact an exhibition will have as it moves from one space to the next. The opening was packed with people, but for the first hour you could literally hear a pin drop as people spoke to each other only in hushed tones. There was a quiet reverence in the space, given the seriousness of the topic – honestly, I have never seen anything like it at an exhibition opening. For many, it was a very emotional night – students and faculty alike, shedding tears (including me). This is the largest solo exhibition of brand new works that I have done to date, and the theme — an analysis of the degree to which we have collectively decided to devalue the lives of black children, both presently and historically — is tough to ingest, but very necessary to engage.