Orlando Sentinel arts writer Matthew J. Palm took a look into the ways that Orlando’s art museums and galleries have sought out greater inclusivity as their exhibits highlight justice and equality this season. With discussions around these exhibitions and their associated artists’ and curators’ perspectives, the article features the latest exhibition at the UCF Art Gallery and features artist Omari Booker and exhibit curator Keri Watson.
“Galleries always have shared stories, but the issue is ‘Whose story is being told’ — and making space for those stories that reflect nonwhite experiences,” said Keri Watson, who is an associate professor of art history at UCF.
Artists of color persevere, in part because like all artists they feel compelled to share their experiences.
“It’s not a heavy burden,” said Omari Booker, a Black Nashville-based artist. “I do feel some responsibility, and it’s also organic. I would call it a cause more than an obligation.”
Booker’s work is part of the UCF Art Gallery exhibition, Illuminating the Darkness: Our Carceral Landscape, which examines the mass incarceration of Americans, particularly those of color. The culmination of a two-year project that brought contemporary artists to Central Florida to participate in a series of discussions with incarcerated students enrolled in classes as part of the Florida Prison Education Project, this exhibition brings together a diverse selection of work made by twenty-five artists from around the world.
The exhibition is available for in-person viewing through October 1 and indefinitely online at cah.ucf.edu/fpep/illuminatingdarkness.