Freedom is a Constant Struggle

February 18–April 14, 2022
Beard & Weil Galleries, Watson Fine Arts

Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Perspectives on Mass Criminalization is focused on prison abolition, and its title is borrowed from Angela Davis’s 2015 book. The work in the exhibition centers the perspectives of people who have been or are currently incarcerated. Each of the exhibited projects allows us to see the impact the carceral system has on individuals, offering the viewer a chance to reevaluate their perspective on the dehumanizing and harmful effects of incarceration. But each of these projects also offers solutions in the form of information, actions, ways to connect, and alternatives to incarceration. 

Ultimately, through the drawings, video performances, photography, writing, and gardens, the exhibition encourages visitors to ask “What would a future without prisons look like? What will it take to get there?”

Photo Requests from Solitary – Laurie Jo Reynolds, Jeanine Oleson and Jean Casella

Chicago 400 Alliance – housing banishment and homelessness activists

Architectural Drawings from folks in solitary collected by Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR)

Solitary Gardens – artist jackie sumell and Families for Justice as Healing to create a garden for mothers incarcerated in Massachusetts.

Mirror/Echo/Tilt – performance and pedagogical project with artists Melanie Crean, Shaun Leonardo, and Sable Elyse Smith

Milo Imagines the World by children’s book author Matt de la Peña.

and illustration by Brian Downey


Cover image: Drawing by Sid, Chicago 400 Alliance member