Art can help us do that work of imagining what we have never experienced before.
ask us to think about how our communities will have to be transformed, and how our entire worlds will
have to be different. Artists do that work. Angela Davis
Barring Freedom explores our nation’s troubled history of prisons and policing. In the last
forty years, the number of people in prisons, jails, and detention centers in the United States has
grown by 500%. There are now two million incarcerated individuals, the majority Black or brown and
predominantly from poor communities. One out of every twelve families in the country is directly
impacted. Yet, for many who have not been directly affected by policing and incarceration, this societal
shift has happened largely out of sight, buried within national debates around history, racism, law, and
order. The artists in Barring Freedom creatively confront the historical and racialized biases
the criminal justice system and the economic and social problems that the system serves to obscure.
The artworks included in Barring Freedom also envision a future beyond the prison. They
importance of art to highlight and inspire reflection about these challenges and emphasizes the critical
roles artists play in imagining and creating new worlds built on true equality.
Artists: American Artist, Sadie Barnette, Sanford Biggers, Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick, Sonya
Sharon Daniel, Maria Gaspar, Ashley Hunt, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman, Titus Kaphar and Reginald
Dwayne Betts, Deana Lawson, Sherrill Roland, Dread Scott, jackie sumell, Hank Willis Thomas, Patrice
Washington, Prison Renaissance, and Levester Williams
Barring Freedom is supported by the SJMA Exhibitions Fund, with contributions from Glenda and
and Rita and Kent Norton. The exhibition is made possible with generous support from the Nion McEvoy
Trust, Ford Foundation, Future Justice Fund, Wanda Kownacki, Peter Coha, James L. Gunderson, Rowland and
Rebele, Porter College, UC Santa Cruz Foundation, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and