Per(Sister): Incarcerated Women of Louisiana explores one of the most critical issues of inequality and injustice facing our nation today through the lens of a population too often overlooked. With an alarming rise in rates of female incarceration, this exhibition seeks to build awareness of the crucial issues that impact women before, during, and after incarceration. The exhibition presents works from more than 30 artists who created new pieces based on the personal stories of 30 formerly and currently incarcerated women: persisters. Stories of loss, hope, despair, survival, triumph, and persistence are shared in a variety of forms, demonstrating simultaneously the universal struggles faced by communities impacted by incarceration and the personal resilience of each woman featured.
Per(Sister) originated at the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University under the leadership of museum director Monica Ramirez-Montagut with assistance from Laura Blereau, and was developed in equal partnership with Syrita Steib and Dolfinette Martin with additional support provided by Operation Restoration and Women with a Vision.
As we move our exhibition online, delve deeper into the issues, personal stories, and the artworks that have been inspired by the PerSisters at www.persister.info.
Persister Andrea Martin with artist Henrietta Mantooth; persister Bobbie Jean Johnson with artist Rontherin Ratliff; persister Carmen Holmes with musician Keith Porteous; persister Chasity Hunter with filmmaker Kira Akerman; persister Danielle Metz with artist Sheila Phipps; persister Desiree’ Morrison with artist Ron Bechet; persister Dianne Jones with artist Nubian OmiSayade Sun; persister Dolfinette Martin with artist Carl Joe Williams; persister Dolita Wilhike with artist Epaul Julien; persister Earlneishka Johnson with artist Lee Deigaard; persister Fox Rich with artist L. Kasimu Harris; persister Gilda Caesar with artist Keith Duncan; persister Kimberly Shields with musician Margie Perez; persister Kiwanda Nelson with musician Kimberly Rivers-Roberts AKA Queen Black Kold Madina; persister Kristina Lopez with artist Ana Hernandez; persister Lea Stern with artist Devin Reynolds; persister Mary McLeod with musician Lynn Drury; persister Nicole Edwards with artist Maria Hinds; persister Ruby Barnes with musician Sarah Quintana; persister Shai Parker with artist MaPó Kinnord; persister Shondolyn Murray with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra; persister Syrita Steib with artist Anastasia Pelias; persister Tonja Isaac with artist Amy Elkins; persister Tremica Henry with artist Butch Frosch; persister Tywanda Major with musician Lynn Drury; persister Veronique Williams with musician Spirit McIntyre; persister Wendi Cooper with artist Tammy Mercure; persister Wilkeitha Washington with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra; persister Yolanda Ford with artist Ryn Wilson; persister Zina Mitchell with artist Cherice Harrison-Nelson. Additional artists include persister Brandi Holmes, Allison Beondé, jackie sumell, Taslim van Hattum, and The Graduates.
Image caption: Amy Elkins, Expectant Mother (Pink), Expectant Mother (Blue), Mother and Newborn, Mother and Son, Mother and Young Children, 2019, digital chromogenic prints on paper, 25 ¼ x 21 ¼ inches each, installed on Southern Magnolia, 2019, artist-designed wallpaper, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University, New Orleans.