Benton, Bruce, Yale Host Black History Month Exhibits

By Susan Dunne for CTNOW

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the U.S. government’s official recognition of February as Black History Month. Galleries and museums throughout the state often dedicate the month to exhibits with African-American themes. This year, several art spaces have exhibits focusing on the black experience in America.

The 2015-2016¬†UConn¬†Reads book selection is “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander.

In connection with this reading project, Mary Banas, a graphic-design professor, approached her students to discuss issues of race, buts he experienced some resistance. “Everybody feels uncomfortable talking about these things,” she said.

She framed her project in an artistic way, however. She asked her students to give her six words, give or take a few, to describe how they feel about race, and to design those words in an aesthetically complementary way. The result is “In/Difference: Reflections On Race,” a video installation at the William Benton Museum of Art on the Storrs campus.

Some responses came from the students’ experiences. An African-American man wrote, “No, I’m Not Here On A Scholarship,” and wound the words into a circle, to suggest they are repeated in a continuous loop. Others were just as confrontational: “But Where Are You Really From?,” “Exotic? I Am Not A Delicacy,” “Get It Straight: We’re Not All Mexican,” “What Shade Of Black Am I?,” “Being Singled Out Is Painful.”

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