'Jerome Project' Investigates The Racial Bias Of The Prison Industrial Complex

March 11, 2015 1:19 PM

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'Jerome Project' Investigates The Racial Bias Of The Prison Industrial Complex

"The Jerome Project" began in 2011, when artist Titus Kaphar was researching his father Jerome's prison records. Kaphar, who was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and currently lives between New York and Connecticut, creates artwork that, both aesthetically and thematically, sews together past and present in a rough and sometimes violent reworking of history. When looking into his father's history, he was surprised to find 99 men, also incarcerated, who shared his father's first and last names.

And just like that, the project was born. The series consists of oil portraits of the various Jeromes, based on their mug shots, juxtaposed against gold leaf, a nod to Byzantine paintings. Each face is partially submerged in tar, with the amount of tar vaguely corresponding to the amount of time the...

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