Arts + Design Mondays: Art, Activism, and Freedom in the American Carceral State, with jackie sumell

Reflecting on her service with prisoners indefinitely held in solitary confinement—most notably Herman Wallace, a political prisoner with whom she collaborated for twelve years—jackie sumell asks us to confront our unconscious desire for revenge and our addiction to the narrative of victory. Drawing from the teachings of Black Panthers, Herman Wallace, and Albert Woodfox, sumell challenges us to consider how our thoughts, words, and actions cast onto the status quo’s treacherous practice of othering, and subsequently how our greatest power is found at the intersection of awareness and despair.

jackie sumell is a New Orleans–based multidisciplinary artist and activist whose work interrogates the abuses of the American criminal justice system. She is best known for her collaborative project with Angola 3 member Herman Wallace entitled Herman’s House/The House that Herman Built (2006–present), a multifaceted project that uses architectural drawings, digital and built models, text, photographs, correspondence, and lectures to explore the practice of solitary confinement in US prisons. She has produced numerous public installations engaging questions of social justice, community, and race, including her recent Solitary Gardens project. She is a recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including, in 2013, the Soros Justice Fellowship and, in 2016, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Award.

Sponsored by the Wiesenfeld Visiting Artist Lecture Series, The Black Room, the English Department, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley.

About Arts + Design Mondays

Join us Monday evenings as we invite UC Berkeley faculty and other creative people to talk about topics of current interest, including new immersive art technologies, the future of cultural criticism, and the role of the arts in social justice.

Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA is organized by UC Berkeley’s Arts + Design Initiative, the Arts Research Center (ARC), and BAMPFA. Participating presenters include UC Berkeley’s Art of Writing; ARC; Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium; Berkeley Center for New Media; The Black Room; Department of Art Practice; Department of English; Digital Humanities at Berkeley; and the Townsend Center for the Humanities. The program is sponsored by Arts + Design.