Students in critical identity studies course Black Lives Matter worked with professor M. Shadee Malaklou on curating an exhibition at the Wright Museum .
Over the course of two years, M. Shadee worked with her students to put this exhibition together. Through this process, the Wright Museum acquired nine significant works by African American artists.
This exhibition explores how much black lives—who have traditionally been “othered” and excluded from recognitions and protections—can matter. It asks how Black lives can matter as non-human lives? Do Black lives matter? Can life matter if it is Black? How can Black life be liberated from alienation and the surveillance of the white gaze?
Shadee explains, “If Black lives can’t matter in language, because language reduces Black people to objects, made alive only as chattel beings—then poetry or poiesis is the site where Black lives can and do matter.”
The selected works—by Leroy Campbell, Della Wells, Jesse Howard, Evelyn Patricia Terry, Spencer Evans, Alison Saar, and more—interrogate the relationship between the gaze and psychic attachments, gender and its raced expression, alienation, and world-making.