Pato Hebert, Talking in Circles (2021). Mirrored acrylic.
Faculty-Driven Exhibition #2
Pato Hebert: Lingering
(with a collaborative work by Sarah Gilbert)
Curated by Associate Professor in Media Studies, Ruti Talmor
January 22 – April 16, 2022
Lingering addresses the COVID-19 condition of long-hauling, in which ongoing COVID symptoms persist well after the initial infection. The exhibition traces the ongoing process of recovery as a site for healing, creativity, and questioning, and the frustrations of seeking care for the varied and extensive symptoms of long-term illness.
Faculty-Driven Exhibition #1: The Work of Yusef Pierce, Curated by Associate Professor Barbara Junisbai
This virtual exhibition of paintings by Yusef Pierce ’21, which displays works referenced as both “Black Art” and “Prison Art,” is situated within Pitzer College’s academic emphasis on social justice issues and intercultural understanding, and serves to significantly enhance the college’s learning goals and educational mission. The phenomenon of mass incarceration in the U.S. today is a major focus in the movement for social justice. Involvement in so-called “Prison Art” is an often overlooked, yet crucial means for better understanding the modern carceral experience. An exhibition of “Prison Art” has the unique ability to reach all members of the Pitzer community, including those of us not already involved in the Justice Education Initiative, with a powerful message: The people inside California’s prisons have something valuable to contribute.
One of the main ways for non-white and non-mainstream cultures to find appreciation and acceptance by the larger social consciousness is through the arts. Visual art, more specifically, has a way of arresting one’s attention and transcending cultural boundaries. Through the curation of this exhibition of works by one of the college’s students, our aim is to fulfill the Pitzer core value of intercultural understanding in a direct and personal way.
I was introduced to Yusef Pierce’s work in fall 2019, during our first Inside-Out class together. That particular day, students were working in small groups, peer reviewing one another’s draft papers describing “my college journey.” Yusef’s story revealed a series of experiences that he had in the classroom during his incarceration. The part I most vividly remember is Yusef’s description of his first art lesson, when it soon became apparent to everyone in the class that Yusef had a gift. No one could believe he had never studied art or practiced drawing; it all flowed so easily and naturally from him. He himself was surprised by what he was able to produce. To enhance his narrative, Yusef brought in three of his works to share. As the paintings made their way around the room, each and every one of us who was present that day was yet again reminded of the most powerful lesson that we took from our time together: “We are all much more than we are told. We are all much more beautiful.”* What a privilege it is to behold and revel in the experience, knowledge, power, and beauty that we all bring to our communal spaces—yet, how often do we build in time and trust for these to be appreciated?
*Eduardo Galeano, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jul/23/eduardo-galeano-children-days-interview, and cited in Bettina L. Love, We Want to Do More than Survive (Beacon Press 2019).
– Barbara Junisbai, Professor of Organizational Studies
For full exhibition information view Faculty-Driven Exhibition #1: Yusef Pierce.