For years within the many spaces of our city where I serve as a volunteer, I have made a commitment to drive home the message of what we gain when we place those on the stage whose voices are too often denied the spotlight they deserve. The invisibility of such persons on those stages means that those rising up through the ages have no example, much less clue, if they are welcome or not in said institutions.
Friday, Jan. 27 is not just the opening of another new exhibition, “Us is Them,” but is a chance for a generation of people within our region, who haven’t been represented locally as they should, to step into the center stage spotlight. It is thrilling to see this exhibition arrive here at this point in our city’s history.
“Us is Them” originated at the Pizzuti Collection in Columbus, Ohio and was organized by Curator Rebecca Ibel before heading to open at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. It will feature more than 50 works of art by 42 renowned international artists who use their vast array of media to confront societal issues, from politics to religion to racism.
This diverse exhibition is organized and presented during a period in our time where many profound social justice movements are afoot in society. This art exhibition dives head first into these areas with a honest portrayal of our current state of affairs around our planet and delivered via art.
This exhibition will challenge us as a community to ask where we are in the work and how we can better enable voices, like these on display, to emerge in our city moving forward, whether via the art we create, showcase or discuss. In short, the power of art to challenge our view points is about to be unleashed within our region, producing exciting opportunities for conversations to emerge.
This show chooses to take the high road, not to isolate or alienate, but will ask each of us to consider where we have intersecting points for dialogue to emerge around what unites us, not divides or breaks down our collective advancement.
“Us is Them” is an exhibition that is sure to stick with you long after the works have been crated and shipped out of town. While they are here, see them often and let the dialogue that it produces hopefully shift the way we look at ourselves and those around us.
This is the power of “Us is Them.”
Artists include: Derrick Adams, Nick Cave, Noah Davis, Roberto Diago, Omar Victor Diop, Jonathan Hammer, Zhang Huan, Wang Jin, Hayv Kahraman, Titus Kaphar, Patrick Lee, Simone Leigh, Tianbing Li, Wangechi Mutu, Adi Nes, Aminah Robinson, Yinka Shonibare, Jeff Sonhouse, Mickalene Thomas, Hank Willis Thomas, Diane Wah, Kara Walker, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems, Judi Werthein, and Kehinde Wiley.
Admission: The 5:30 p.m. reception is free to members, the public is admitted after 6 p.m. and entrance costs $5. For more information, you can go here