This year’s UPRISING art exhibition explores ‘Perception of Self’
As the curators of the fifth annual UPRISING art exhibition began reviewing submissions for this year’s show, they quickly noticed a theme.
Artists from different majors and different backgrounds all kept coming back to a sense of duality to describe their work.
“People are very aware of the looks that they get from others and that has a great effect on them. We wanted to give the artists as well as the audience the space to dwell on the power of perception and how it can influence people in so many ways,” says curator Lillian Ingabire ’22. “Perception has the power to push people to bad, and it can also pull people back into themselves and transform them for the better. In the exhibition, artists explore topics of body image, inner identity, the feeling of duality as a Black person in America, defiance, and also personal inspiration. Some feel lost and confused, some struggle as they question their identity and their sense of home.”
“UPRISING V: Perception of Self” is open in the Center for Art and Dance’s Groot Gallery through March 6. Information on gallery hours and COVID-19 policies are available on the visitor web page. The exhibition also has an interactive online publication available for exploration.
In the exhibition, artists explore topics of body image, inner identity, the feeling of duality as a Black person in America, defiance, and also personal inspiration. Some feel lost and confused, some struggle as they question their identity and their sense of home.Curator Lillian Ingabire ’22
UPRISING is an annual exhibition that narrates the experiences of Black people and celebrates Black history, culture, and identity through the visual and performing arts. Shaquille Brown ’19 founded the exhibition series in response to protests against racism on the St. Olaf campus in 2017. This student-curated exhibition, which is hosted each February to coincide with Black History Month, creates space for marginalized Black voices on campus and fosters community interactions among students, faculty, and staff.
This year’s show was curated by Lillian Ingabire ’22, Karabo Ramosamo ’22, and Ramos Lenyatsa ’23. It was planned and organized by members of the UPRISING student organization and Flaten Art Museum staff, with support from the Department of Art and Art History.
“In ‘Perception of Self,’ we imagine ‘self’ as the artist and also ‘self’ as you, the audience. How you experience this exhibition is a reflection of you. How do you see yourself through the artwork? How does the artwork look back at you?” Ingabire says. “Differences in perception should never be the source of conflict or be used to justify it, but it should be a means to celebrate diversity. A person is a multifaceted being of good intentions and perceiving one in this lens could lead to a better understanding between races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, etc. Wouldn’t a connection of these ‘selves’ make the world a better place to live in, together?”
In ‘Perception of Self,’ we imagine ‘self’ as the artist and also ‘self’ as you, the audience. How you experience this exhibition is a reflection of you. How do you see yourself through the artwork? How does the artwork look back at you?Curator Lillian Ingabire ’22
The exhibition features a wide range of work that highlights the different perspectives of the participating artists. “Grito Do Meu Coração Cacheado” by Leila Rocha Fisher ’23 tells the story of feeling unrecognizable per the perceptions of others. “Own Worst Enemy” by Theo Mattson ’22 highlights the crux of an old saying that says, “When there is no enemy within, the enemy without can do no harm.” Poetry and audio pieces by Ruhama Solomon ’24 titled “Revival/Revival reloaded” submerge the audience into an interactive experience that prompts reflection on the people we love and the strength they provide to persevere through difficult times.
The curators note that these pieces are just a few that make the collection something the entire campus community should experience.
“This exhibition narrates how Black people feel lost and continue to battle that feeling on the St. Olaf College campus and in this America,” Ingabire says. “We have the right to feel at home. We have the right to feel at peace. This is our uprising!”