About the exhibition

Souls of A Nation is an arts advocacy exhibition that explores the stories of people impacted by systems of power. The portraits and accompanying writings examine how white supremacy manifests through environmental justice, voter suppression, the criminal justice system and reproductive justice issues. The Souls of A Nation exhibition is a project by Joe’s Art Studio that uses art and storytelling to educate about issues of systemic injustice.

The Background

The Souls of A Nation arts advocacy exhibition was conceptualized in 2021 and supported through a year-long arts residency program and grant provided by Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. The life-size portrait drawings and select online writings examine issues of environmental justice, voter suppression, policing, the criminal justice system and reproductive justice.

The ghosts of the antebellum era are alive and well as they continue to manifest and haunt systems of power across our nation. From government and corporate actors who pollute the air, water and food systems of the poorest communities, which leads to chronic illnesses and death; to a criminal justice system that over incarcerates and denies justice to the most marginalized; to extremist politicians and judges who actively work to dismantle voting rights and control the bodies of childbearing persons. 

This project is designed to support advocates, impacted communities and concerned individuals who are working to address issues of systemic injustice. The featured portraits were selected through media research, outreach to community organizers and recommendations provided by impacted persons. The exhibition is an ongoing project of Joe’s Art Studio, a Brooklyn-based studio that works at the intersection of race, sex and power. Select portraits are featured in a permanent exhibition at the Festival Center Community Gallery (1640 Columbia Rd.) in Washington, D.C. 

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