The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art’s new exhibit highlights the power of art to inspire and unite communities.

For freedoms: the UMOCA art collective for political change

(UMOCA) Hank Willis Thomas, Justice, 2021 Mixed media including American flags 39 1/2 x 71 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches, (100.3 x 181.6 x 6.4 centimeters), © Hank Willis Thomas / Kayne Griffin Gallery

Opened on January 21, 2022, the exhibition Our Wake Up Call For Freedoms, a collaboration between the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) and the artist collective For Freedoms, explores creativity as a fundamental societal value that can be used to political change.

(UMOCA) Jun Mabuchi, Can We Coexist?, Billboard Design for For Freedoms, photographic print on Sintra, © Jun Mabuchi / For Freedoms

Timed to coincide with Utah’s 2022 legislative session, this crowdsourced exhibit invites visitors to create their own work of art addressing an issue they care about or would like to address within our democracy. This process encourages visitors to consider the potential of creativity in designing radical, imaginative and visionary solutions to social problems by asking difficult and challenging questions that we face in society. Statements such as “Hope For” and “Freedom From” provide an open call to action that does not divide.

(UMOCA) For Freedoms, Justice For, Yard Panel to be completed by visitors in the gallery © For Freedoms

(UMOCA) For Freedoms, Healing To, Yard Panel to be completed by visitors in the gallery © For Freedoms

“We are honored and thrilled to welcome the nationally acclaimed artist collective, For Freedoms,” said UMOCA Exhibitions Curator Jared Steffensen. “I have followed their work since their inception in 2016 and am so impressed with the participatory nature of their practice. They seek to create conversations, call rather than call, and have a powerful voice around social engagement. Founding member Hank Willis Thomas is one of the most important artists of our time, whose work grapples with important issues, and I am so honored to work with him.

(UMOCA) Hank Willis Thomas, Liberty, 2021 Mixed media including American prison uniforms, 57 x 101 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches (144.8 x 257.8 x 6.4 centimeters), © Hank Willis Thomas / Kayne Griffin Gallery

The exhibit encourages participation through a reading room, filled with resources curated in partnership with the Salt Lake City Public Library, a meditation space, lawn signs, and the creation of posters that visitors can fill out and take home. home, as well as a co-curated film series. with the Utah Film Center. Using these social engagement tools, a dialogue about social change is encouraged.

(UMOCA) Aaron Huey, Why Do You Ask for a Sign?, Billboard Design for For Freedoms, photographic print on Sintra, © Aaron Huey / For Freedoms

“This [exhibition] is an open call to say, ‘what do we want our nation to look like’; our nation has been so divided and divisive, it is a call to say “where are our common values ​​and how can we call people to have a collective conversation,” said Laura Allred Hurtado, Executive Director of UMOCA. “A lot of the feeling surrounding the For Freedoms show is that hope is coming; artists can envision a future where there is more conversation, more hope, more change.

Our Wake Up Call For Freedoms runs from January 21, 2022 through June 4, 2022 at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Salt Lake City.

About Carlos V. Mitchell

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