Where do we draw the line between personal preference and the politics of prejudice?
-artist Jennifer Justice
Juror: Ursula Kammer-Fox
Woman Made Gallery¹s first exhibition of the year 2001 examines prejudice through the artwork of women, men and elementary school children. Prejudice, a group show juried by California artist Ursula Kammer-Fox, features artwork by 30 artists from across the U.S. Collage, paintings, mixed media, photography, printmaking and sculpture all reveal different layers of prejudice, and tell stories about biases towards gender, age, race, physical appearances, religious beliefs and sexual orientation. Artist Sharon Harper¹s statement sums up the intent of this important exhibition: I want to somehow paint about the injustice I feel and hopefully bring an idea into the open to discuss and work through differences and begin to nurture communication and tolerance.
Three Chicago elementary schools created prejudice quilts to be displayed in the gallery along with the group exhibition. After having open discussions about the worst thing they have ever been called and then also the worst thing they ever called or thought about anyone else, each student created two squares of the quilt.
The kids were really energetic and thoughtful….After they got over the shock of being able to talk about name-calling in a class discussion, they got right to work, said Natalia Szymczak from Clinton School.
In addition, 60 elementary education students at Northern Illinois University took part in the prejudice project. Remarks professor Suesi Metcalf: Several students struggled with the assignment and could not write the worst thing they had ever been called. Nonetheless, some students plan to recreate this prejudice quilt project in their own classrooms. Notes one student: It is a very powerful activity. It is remarkable that creating a piece of art can help teach children about racism and hatred.
A videotape entitled Teaching Tolerance will also be on view throughout the exhibition. This award-winning project of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, AL provides materials to schools to educate students about caring, sharing and tolerance. Copies of their 101 Tools for Tolerance brochure are available at Woman Made Gallery.
(Banner image: artwork by Sharon Harper)