In response the culmination of my time at UCLA, I created a work that would sum up much of my university experience. One of my contributions to the MFA thesis group exhibition was staging a show within a show. Posters were put up around campus and a Facebook event was created with the following text:
Are you a black person?
I am a black person. I make art.
I have been at UCLA for 4 years and I have never seen 20 black people in our gallery.
I would like to.
My MFA Thesis Show opens May 14th at 5:00pm in the New Wight Gallery. It would be great to see other black folks and people of color at the show. If you are a black person or person of color and would like to come, text me, or simply show up.
Q: Who counts as a person of color?
A: I believe individuals have the right to self-identify as people of color, but please do so responsibly. I’m looking at you, “1/16th Cherokee”.
Q: I don’t identify as a person of color, can I come?
A: Most definitely. If you know any people of color, you can spread the word.
Besides the posters, there is no documentation for this work, as I did not want to make (black and brown) participants into a spectacle. I also did not want to remove the agency of those black and brown folks in attendance who were simply attending the group show, rather than making a proactive statement with their presence. The result was a shadow show, where those who were in the know wondered which bodies were incidental and which were intentional.