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Radical Acts: Sheryl Oring and Sherrill Roland

A Black man in an orange jumpsuit walks along the National Mall with the Washington Monument in the backdrop
Image: courtesy of Sherrill Roland from The Jumpsuit Project. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021
1:00 – 2:00 pm


Virtual Event


Lecture / Discussion
Open to the public
Free of charge

Registration is required. RSVP here.

Stamps Gallery, in partnership with U‑M Democracy & Debate Theme Semester, is proud to present a conversation with leading social practice artists Sheryl Oring and Sherrill Roland, Creative Capital awardees and practitioners nationally renowned for their long-term and ongoing performance projects, I Wish to Say and The Jumpsuit Project. Oring and Roland leverage their socially engaged art practices as a vehicle to activate democracy and build awareness of the systemic barriers within the incarceration and criminal justice systems.

Join us for a lively and intimate conversation with Oring and Roland, who are also longtime friends and collaborators, as they discuss the urgency and complexities of making socially engaged projects in our present moment. The conversation will be moderated by Stamps Gallery Director, Srimoyee Mitra.

Sheryl Oring activates democracy through art. She is the creator of the I Wish to Say public performance project, through which she has typed more than 4,000 postcards to four different U.S. Presidents from more than 100 locations across the country since launching the project in 2004. Her book, Activating Democracy: The I Wish to Say Project, was published by the University of Chicago Press. Other recent projects include large-scale public art commissions at airports in Tampa and San Diego. Oring is the recipient of grants from Franklin Furnace Fund, Creative Capital Foundation, the American Council on Germany, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Oring’s work has been shown at Bryant Park in New York; the Berlin Wall Memorial; the Jewish Museum Berlin; the 01SJ Biennial in San Jose, CA; the San Diego Museum of Art; as well as in major festivals such as Encuentro in São Paulo, Brazil, and the Art Prospect Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her work is in collections including the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art (NY) and the Tate in London and has been reviewed in numerous publications. She is Professor and Chair of the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Sherrill Roland is an interdisciplinary artist who creates art that challenges ideas around controversial social and political constructs and generates a safe space to process, question and share. He was born in Asheville, NC, and received an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Inspired by his experience in prison for a crime he did not commit, he founded The Jumpsuit Project to raise awareness around issues related to mass incarceration. Roland’s socially-engaged art project has been presented at Open Engagement Chicago, Oakland City Hall, and the Studio Museum of Harlem. He is a 2021 awardee of Art for Justice Fund and Creative Capital awardee.