“Though we are disappointed to not be able to display the work in our physical building because of unforeseen scheduling challenges related to COVID-19 closures, we are excited to present our first-ever completely digital exhibition experience,” says Giles. “We are exploring ways to present the art and voters’ stories in dynamic and meaningful ways online for our audiences.”
Together, the artists represent many different backgrounds of Americans—they have ancestors who were African, Kurdish, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islanders. “We were intentional about reaching out to a diverse group of artists working in a variety of mediums,” says Giles. “They are all certainly skilled artists, but also community-oriented individuals who value shared dialogue and civic engagement.”
The 19th Amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s right to vote, is especially significant to Tennessee, as it was the 36th state to pass the amendment, completing the two-thirds majority needed to make it the law of the land. Tennessee, however, is now ranked 49th in voter turnout and 45th in voter registration. “On top of all of our current challenges, 2020 contains a confluence of events in our country, with the census and the presidential election,” says Anne Henderson, Frist Art Museum director of education and engagement. “Through this exhibition, we hope to encourage visitors to exercise their constitutional right to vote and to deepen understanding of historic and ongoing struggles for equal voting rights.”
Several works address the struggles to gain or regain the right to vote. Beizar Aradini’s reflection on the immigrant experience of gaining citizenship is told through an embroidered poem and portrait mimicking an ID photo. M Kelley’s prints highlight the journey of reentry into society after incarceration, expressed through the use of iconic paper ballot and flag imagery, symbolic colors, and depictions of themes raised in interviews with those who have restored their rights and those who continue to work toward system reform.
Organized by the Frist Art Museum
Presenting sponsor: HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health
Supported in part by the Frist Art Museum’s O’Keeffe Circle Members, Ryman Hospitality Properties Foundation, and Neal & Harwell, PLC
The Frist Art Museum is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Buddy Kite: 615.744.3351, bkite@FristArtMuseum.org
Ellen Jones Pryor: 615.243.1311, epryor@FristArtMuseum.org