Latest exhibition showcases artists’ work on systemic injustices

Prosper Aluu | NDSU Memorial Union Gallery | Photo Courtesy
Prosper Aluu’s artwork titled “Faith” from Nigeria

The gallery is featuring pieces from America, Nigeria, India and the U.K.

North Dakota State University’s Memorial Union Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition titled “Unrest: Reclaiming Power, Privilege and Purpose.” The featured work explores issues such as political upheaval in America, the Black Lives Matter movement, unrest in Nigeria and India and many other topics.

The “Unrest: Reclaiming Power, Privilege and Purpose” exhibition will be held until Nov. 13.

Anthony Faris, the Gallery Coordinator and Curator of Collections, talked about the art and the conversations the exhibition is provoking.

While the exhibition could have taken many approaches such as telling a story about advocacy or addressing problems from the past, Faris explained that the art represents situations that need addressing.

“I think that what we see is an opportunity to be confronted with what we as human beings should consider as an essential issue that we need to address.”

Faris said that the exhibition was planned to be around the time of the election since it’s an “opportunity to have conversations.” Faris added that the overall message of the exhibition is “how can we activate citizenship through conversations and through more awareness.”

The unrest countries are seeing comes down to the lack of representation according to Faris who added that within the past four years, there has been a rise in protests and activism that has mainly been led by women and the youth.

“I think that there is a revival of activity and a reinterpretation of who we should be as citizens that have been led by those two groups.”

With everything going on in the world, Faris said that artists are storytellers since they’re representing how they view the past, present and future in their work. “I think that it’s very fair to say that artists are the ones who are chronicling this and exploring it.”

When it comes to unrest on a global level, Faris said, “There are places that are covered more than others.” For the Hong Kong protests, Faris explained that the youth helped spread awareness, but for the protests in Nigeria against police brutality, Faris said that it’s not getting covered enough.

Some of the artwork from across the world featured in the gallery includes digital photography from Sri Loganathan which capture the unrest and protests in India.

Whether Faris thinks the artwork from other countries will help people understand what’s happening across world, Faris said that he doesn’t want people to view it as if it’s happening to an “other.”

“I look at it as being able to recognize ourselves and this larger human story. So much has changed economically, socially, culturally across the world that these are changes that ultimately stem from lack of representation.”

The art featured in the gallery from America comes from North Dakota and across the country. Faris said that having a both local and national art helps “elevate the conversation.”

As for other local exhibitions focusing on similar topics, Faris mentioned Theatre B’s most recent play ‘The Majority’ which addresses democracy and voting. The play presents the topic of democracy in a creative way that also allows audience engagement.

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