Opening Friday, February 8th, from 6PM - 10PM
On view through Friday, March 1st
February 8, 6-10 pm
There will be a poetry reading at 7:30 pm. Audrey Petty, Tara Betts, Simone Waller, William Estrada and Sarah Ross will read writing by poets at Stateville prison.
The designation of “citizen” is a powerful tool: both to confer a range of rights to certain individuals of a particular nation state, and also to exclude or dehumanize because of where one is born or their carceral status. In this way, the framework of U.S. citizenship functions to both grant rights and exclude them. Jelani Cobb suggests the idea of “contingency citizenship” when thinking about how Black and Brown people experience the law. Alicia Garza also refers to the tenuousness of citizenship for black folks, saying that citizenship is conditional: “This is the harsh reality for black people in America today. That we are expected to participate in democracy while receiving conditional citizenship in return.”
For people in prison, citizenship rights are fully suspended: the site of the prison becomes a territory of exception. When a person is awaiting trial for a criminal charge (even if a person can post bail), full citizenship rights are limited and monitored by “pre-trial services” which can include curfews, drug tests and more. After completing a prison sentence, and even after parole, people are excluded from housing options, job opportunities, and even access to higher education based solely on the conviction for which they served time. Today, 6.1 million people cannot vote—a core right of citizenship—due to a past conviction.
Over the last year, artists William Estrada and Aaron Hughes from the Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project led print workshops with incarcerated artist to explore ideas of outsider, citizen, immigrant and other. The Conditional Citizenship exhibition features art from these workshops.
Open by appointment outside of receptions through 3-1-19. For an appointment, call 312 852 7717
URI-EICHEN Gallery 2101 S Halsted Chicago IL 60608 info@URI-EICHEN.com