Welcome to the newest gallery in JAC’s Gallery of the Month series, where we showcase a wide range of art and writing under unique monthly themes. Check back on the first of each month for a new collection of works by the talented artists in the JAC network. To view past galleries of the month, see our Gallery Archive.
At Justice Arts Coalition, it is always so exciting to see the wide array of mediums, techniques, and styles our network artists use in their artwork. With varying but often restrictive limitations on available art supplies in prisons, access to color is often suppressed, leaving artists to discover and develop innovative methods for creating chromatic work. The frequency with which facilities prohibit materials that provide color, such as paints, pastels, and markers has meant that for so many artists, color is a treasured item and an opportunity for special creativity. For this month’s gallery, we focused on this dynamic use of color, selecting eye-catching pieces that when grouped together in their color families are made all the more vibrant.
We chose to arrange the colorful pieces into a rainbow in celebration of Pride Month and all the wonderful LGBTQIA+ artists, interns, volunteers, and friends in the JAC family.
As we celebrate Pride, we felt it was important to acknowledge and shed light on the difficult realities faced by the LGBTQ community in carceral systems. In the United States, individuals who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to experience incarceration and face abuse while incarcerated. Numerous studies and surveys have shown that gender and sexual minorities are subjected to disproportionately longer prison sentences than straight and cisgender individuals and are incarcerated at much higher rates. For example, the proportion of women in prisons and jails who identify as lesbian and bisexual is eight times greater than the percent of U.S. women overall who identify as lesbian or bisexual.
It is vital that we actively recognize and work to abolish the harmful systems that create these inequities, but it is also important to make space for joy and celebration of the LGBTQ community. A rainbow and its vibrancy symbolize celebration. A rainbow and its colors are light made visible. The sight of a rainbow after the storm always feels like a gift from the sky.
We hope you enjoy this month’s gallery: A Rainbow of Art
Do you have feedback or an idea for a future gallery of the month? Submit your suggestions here.