Grantee Cohort Spring 2018, Spring 2019
Titus Kaphar’s work interacts with the history of art. He reconfigures the work of Classical and Renaissance painters to create new pieces that straddle fantasy and reality. One of his goals is to address racism through art. He was commissioned by TIME Magazine to create a painting in response to the unrest in Ferguson, MO resulting from the shooting of Michael Brown. He also created the Jerome Project, a body of work that includes paintings, works on paper, and a short film connected to photos of his father who was involved in the justice system. Kaphar’s experiences of the justice system are connected to his father, cousins, and friends, people in his life who were incarcerated.
With support from Art for Justice grant, Titus and Reginald Dwayne Betts created “Redaction,” a series of works incorporating civil rights complaints filed primarily by Civil Rights Corps, another grantee partner. Redaction is a powerful new exhibit that addresses cash bail reform — an issue as pivotal as prosecutorial outreach when it comes to the dehumanizing elements of our justice system. Titus and Dwayne drew inspiration and source material from Civil Rights Corps lawsuits filed on behalf of people who remain locked up because they can’t afford bail, despite not having been tried or convicted. Dwayne’s poetry, which uses legal redactions artistically, is coupled with Titus’ unique printmaking techniques to create a visually sobering portrait of mass incarceration.
Also, through an Art for Justice Activating Art and Advocacy grant, the Civil Rights Corps are partnering with attorney and poet Dwayne and Titus to take Redaction from MoMA PS1 across the country. They hope that the exhibit will travel to communities with the highest rates of incarceration to start conversations with everyone from high school students to practitioners about the criminal justice system and bail reform.