"In order for things to change, we often need to change our way of thinking."
In the summer of 2021, Gallery 924 held its first in-person exhibition since the start of the pandemic. Art + Activism featured 15 Indianapolis-based artists whose work explored the role art can play in driving awareness of complex social issues such as police brutality, gentrification, migrant workers’ rights, climate change, fast fashion, and other causes.
Art + Activism marked the one-year anniversary of the Murals for Racial Justice project, which began with murals created by local artists to cover boarded-up storefronts in downtown Indianapolis following the nationwide social uprising after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor–two Black people who were murdered at the hands of law enforcement.
The grassroots effort evolved into a partnership with the Center for Black Literature & Culture and a highly publicized exhibition, RESPONSE, at the Indiana State Museum last fall.
Israel Solomon, who co-curated Art + Activism with artist Matthew Cooper, said that while he doesn’t necessarily see himself as an activist, he recognizes the platform that his art provides to share a timely message.
“I am someone who feels like if I see something that doesn’t sit well with me, and strikes my emotional core, that it is important for me to speak up,” he stated. “In order for things to change, we often need to change our way of thinking, communicate with one another, listen, and have empathy.
“I’ve been blessed with the tools to create impactful messages in the form of imagery. I will continue to use my voice to do this when I feel that I or my community has something that needs to be said.”
"Art & Activism" at Gallery 924 featured works by 15 artists. Photo by Lenny White.
Art + Activism featured artists Jaidly Anciso, Anthony Armstrong, Shadé Bell, Regina Bunting, Constance Collins, Matthew Cooper, Clayton Hamilton, Angelita Hampton, Savannah Jacob, Nasreen Khan, Gaby Mojica, WildStyle Paschall, Anthony Radford, Rebecca Robinson, and Israel Solomon.
The exhibition was made possible through the generosity of Glick Philanthropies.
- By Ebony Chappel