Nationally-recognized street artists Jess X Snow and Shyama R. Kuver, with curator Katie Fuller, present an exhibition of video, photographs and paintings at Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA), sharing stories of women that gave birth while shackled in prison, alongside the power of love that continues in spite of separation.
This show tells the human stories of mothers and daughters, like Carole and Jahmil. Carole is a sexual abuse survivor, who turned to drugs to silence emotional pain. While pregnant with Jahmil, she was arrested for stealing in order to feed her habit. She gave birth while in prison—in shackles. Jahmil was immediately taken away. She remembers, "The corrections officer said that if I had really wanted to keep my baby, I would never have been in jail.”
It took Carole years to find someone who believed in her as a mother, including herself. She and Jahmil attended therapy and the exhibit shares a video of her and Jahmil’s story to repair their relationship. Carole found sobriety and has since received recognition for her advocacy for criminal and social justice issues, including anti-shackling of pregnant women and ending termination of parental rights. She is the recipient of the John Jay’s Howard D. Mann Humanitarianism in Service, the Coalition for Women Prisoners’ Advocacy, and most recently, Citizen’s Against Recidivism’s Glenn E. Martin Advocacy of the Year Awards. Her daughter, Jahmil, is excelling as a graduate film student at UCLA.
CoCA and the artists seek to bring healing to the formerly incarcerated and awareness of the injustice of incarcerated mothers, while shedding light on systemic challenges that exacerbate recidivism, such as homelessness. As per the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, almost 50,000 people a year enter homeless shelters immediately after exiting incarceration. The rate of homelessness in Seattle is 10 times the national average and 25% of people utilizing homelessness-related social services in King County are located in the Pioneer Square zip code, where our gallery is located. Their neighborhood sees over 2,000 arrests a year. CoCA’s May and June exhibition works to humanize these statistics and create space for formerly incarcerated women to regain their voices.
During the exhibition, CoCA will take this healing to the street. Working with the Metropolitan Improvement District and Pioneer Square businesses, CoCA will host a free Mother’s Day card-making party in the gallery for unhoused in the neighborhood on May 4. All card-making materials, including painting supplies, artistic guidance, envelopes, and postage will be provided for all participants.
We’ll also be hosting a panel discussion for the public to learn about the women featured in the exhibit from “(Our Love Is) Unbroken by Bars” Curator, Katie Fuller, and learn about homelessness and recidivism with Rex Hohlbein, Executive Director of Facing Homelessness.
Calendar of Events
Exhibition: May 1 - June 15
Round Table Discussion: Wednesday, May 1, 6-8:30 PM with curator Katie Fuller and Rex Hohlbein, Executive Director of Facing Homelessness
Public Reception: Thursday, May 2, 6-9 PM, as part of the Pioneer Square First Thursday art walk
Card-Making Workshop: Saturday, May 4, 12-2 PM. Free Mother’s Day card-making workshop for Pioneer Square’s unhoused residents
Public Reception: Thursday, June 6, 6-9 PM, as part of the Pioneer Square First Thursday art walk
All events at CoCA in Pioneer Square, 114 Third Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98104
Public gallery hours: Thursday - Saturday, 11am – 6pm