TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Public Blackness made its debut across Indiana State University’s three art galleries on Thursday.
Public Blackness aims to create a greater awareness of on-going local and national racial issues.
The show is designed to provide a safe platform where ISU students and the broader community can learn, engage and be inspired to take positive action to help heal and transform outdated and unconscious biases.
Indiana State Asst. Prof. of Sociology Dr. Adeyemi Doss is one of a handful who had art displayed in one of the three exhibits. His art is a collection of racial memorabilia from the Jim Crow south. He explained that he was inspired by a former professor.
Doss explained that his work takes a different approach at showcasing the black body. He said his work looks at some of the issues that black bodies and people of African descent face today in terms of violence.
“It’s a step towards trying to figure out how we can overcome those stereotypes,” Doss said. “It’s been a battle for years with regards of overcoming those stereotypes that we continue to see today.”
Idris Habib was born in the United States but has Ghanian heritage. He currently resides in Holland and was unable to attend the event. A representative of Habib, Gabe Torres, said that Habib does not shy away from his heritage in his artwork and his portrayal of his people.
“His blackness is his absolute being,” Torres said. “He’s not trying to shy away from it.”
Wabash College Visiting Asst. Prof. of Art Dr. Anne Mahady said that having the exhibit across three buildings on campus was extremely intentional.
“Talking about the way black people are existing, living and experiencing life in public space and getting that conversation to happen in more than one space around campus,” Mahady said.
Although the black population is low here in the Wabash Valley, Mahady said the area is rich in black history. Mahady explained that the exhibit exemplifies just that.
“We have so much history here that’s worth talking about and this exhibition echoes that in a way,” Mahady stated.