Syracuse University Museum of Art’s New Exhibit Addresses Inequality and Injustice Among Incarcerated Women


A new exhibit that intimately examines the experiences of women currently and formerly incarcerated in Louisiana by sharing stories of loss, hope, despair, survival, triumph and perseverance retold to Syracuse University Museum of Art from January 18. “Per (Sister): Incarcerated Women in Louisiana” explores one of the most critical issues of inequality and injustice currently facing the nation through the lens of an often overlooked population.

Featuring works by more than 30 artists from across the country, including MaPó Kinnord, Amy Elkins, Lee Diegaard, L. Kasimu Harris, Devin Reynolds, Jackie Sumell, Carl Joe Williams and Cherice Harrison-Nelson, “By (sister)” runs until March 11.

“These works of art, with their wide range of media, showcase the power of storytelling and highlight their ability to spark cross-disciplinary conversations not only about the complexities and inequalities of the American justice system, but also about the ongoing, generational impact of incarceration,” says Melissa Yuen. , curator of the Syracuse University Museum of Art.

We look forward to sharing the lived experiences of PerSisters and the art they have inspired with the Syracuse campus community. —Melissa Yuen, Curator, Syracuse University Museum of Art

Amy Elkins, “Mother and young children”, 2019

“By (Sister)” is a traveling exhibition produced by the Tulane University Newcomb Museum of Art in New Orleans, Louisiana. The exhibition was curated under the direction of former museum director Monica Ramirez-Montagut (current executive director of the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University) and assisted by curator Laura Blereau. It was developed in equal partnership with Syrita Steib and Dolfinette Martin with additional support provided by Operation Restoration and Women with a Vision.

The exhibition features works by over 30 artists based on the personal stories of 30 formerly and currently incarcerated women, interviewed by museum staff. “By (sister)” aims to look beyond the statistics and shine a light on their stories in order to understand the injustice of the criminal justice system in the United States.

The exhibition is divided into four sections that explore the causes of women’s incarceration, the impact of incarceration of mothers, the physical and behavioral toll of incarceration, and the challenges and opportunities for reintegration for formerly incarcerated women. .

These themes bring together diverse works – including voice recordings, photographic portraits, informative illustrations, sculptures, paintings, songs and performances – to create an exhibition that incorporates the voices of Persisters and artists while highlighting statistics collected from the Vera Institute of Justice, Prison Policy Initiative, the Sentencing Project, Bureau of Justice Statistics and others. Tulane faculty and students, directly affected people, and community stakeholders have contributed time and knowledge to the exhibit.

Upcoming Special”By (sister)” Events

  • Per(Sister) Curator Talk with Monica Ramirez-Montagut
    Saturday, January 29, 1-2 p.m. ET
    Zoom link for the January 29 event
  • By (sister) in conversation
    Melissa Yuen and PerSister co-producers of the exhibition Dolfinette Martin and Syrita Steib
    Wednesday, February 9, 3 p.m. ET
    Zoom link for February 9 event
  • Collage community: artistic creation as a restorative practice
    Thursday, February 10, 6 p.m. ET
    Zoom link for the February 10 event
  • Thursday, February 24, 6 p.m.
    Syracuse University Museum of Art
    Shaffer Art Building
  • Women’s imprisonment and prison reform priorities
    Thursday, February 17, 5:30 p.m.
    214 Slocum Hall
    Reception to follow at the Syracuse University Art Museum

Comments are closed.