Exhibit Focusing on Juvenile Incarceration Coming to CSUSB
“smallasaGIANT,” a traveling art exhibition that focuses on issues related to juvenile incarceration, will make a stop for about two months at Cal State San Bernardino’s Anthropology Museum, marking its debut.
The museum, housed on the third floor of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, will display “smallasaGIANT” from April 15 – June 15. CSUSB is the first of eight venues the exhibit’s creator, Ise Lyfe, will bring his work to, and the only university campus on the tour itinerary.
An opening reception is set for April 18.
“This is a statewide project, and as myself and team were looking for opportunities to lift up areas that are gems in the state, San Bernardino was high on the list,” Lyfe said. “Wherever you land on a social or political spectrum, juvenile justice and mass incarceration impact you in some way or another.
“I believe it is a human rights issue – and when I reflect on the strong labor, family, and education culture of this area, day to day humanity is obvious and apparent,” he said. “I’m proud that we are premiering here!”
The exhibit is a multi-media display of photos and other media that explore the lives and journeys of people who were sentenced to prison as adults before they turned 18.
As the exhibit’s website explains, “smallasaGIANT fuses a photography effort and exhibition with community forums held across California to expose the inhumanity and ineffectiveness of juvenile incarceration – particularly for long-term sentences. The project will pragmatically reveal in a provocative way the cruelty and ineffectiveness of juvenile incarceration, to galvanize people in a non-abstract, pointed way to participate in local and state efforts to reform the juvenile justice system. The aim of the project is to photograph young people who have been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison when they were under the age of 18 – now serving those sentences. …
“The core purpose of the entire project is to create a tangible tool and glaring statement through conceptual art that can be used to influence and empower voters, communities, politicians, and stakeholders to change the attitude, policies, and laws that fuel one of America’s most tragic and grotesque appendages: Locking children in prison for their entire lives.”
As part of the exhibit, Lyfe and the Anthropology Museum have put out a call to the university and the off-campus community to develop programs that would tie in with the exhibit, which aims to raise awareness of the issues related to incarcerating juveniles.
Some programs already planned include:
· “The House I Live In,” Screening and Discussion, April 4, 2 p.m., John M. Pfau Library, PL-5005;
· “Inside/Out: Reflections from a Formerly Incarcerated Prison Educator,” April 11, 4 p.m., Santos Manuel Student Union Fourplex;
· “Jane Elliot on Race and Racism,” April 18, noon, Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center.
The exhibition is also available to serve as a venue for hosting events to support community organizations and will arrange extended hours to accommodate group tours and meet-ups.
The exhibit’s creator, Ise Lyfe, is an award-winning conceptual artist, justice advocate, author, spoken word artist and actor from Oakland.
Among his larger conceptual art projects was “Brighter That Blight,” a 2013 effort in which he transformed a blighted, condemned housing project in Oakland into a life-sized exhibition and artistic narrative on housing as a human right.
He has also served as a commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the city of Oakland, and in 2016, Lyfe helped launch the city’s Department of Race and Equity.