THE FREEDOM RIDE
“The Freedom Ride is an exhibition of images and words about our struggle for liberation as young Black people who are living under seemingly inescapable systems of confinement and tyranny. This exhibition lives and breathes on the connection between our art and activism, our individual voices, and the collective voice of our community. It is also an expression of the parallels we see between ourselves and the many who came before us. Through the works of five young poets and four visual artists, our story of Black struggle, triumph, and potential comes alive in a powerful communal body. We use our expressions in a dynamic and culturally shifting way as a weapon in the fight of the new generation. We are the next freedom fighters.
We choose to pursue change as the country moves further away from the ideals it keeps pledging to uphold. Young artists and activists are experiencing a collective sense of sliding backward. With legislative measures like HB 7 (Individual Freedoms Bill), and SB 2524 and HB 999 limiting Black and Brown youth’s visibility in education, the same cycles of suppression and rejection continue. It is clear that we need to look back at the game changers and follow their lead on the path of progress, while honing our own way forward. Our goals correspond in uncanny ways with those of young radicals like SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), who are well known for their active coordination and involvement in the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights era. They became the change they wanted to see. And, so will we.
In this gallery collective, you will witness our journey through lived and shared experiences, as we bring voice to the undervalued, terrorized, and underfunded. From the perspective of Black young adults, this show is a forceful statement that will reckon with where we came from, where we are, and where we demand we go.”
It has been an honor for Yellow House to hold space for the young artists and activists who penned the above statement and created the works you will experience in this space. We are calling this season Youth Summer as we shifted our efforts to support young creatives who came to us with a sense of urgency to respond to the current moment of racist policies, censorship, and a rise in violence against Black bodies. In three different exhibitions, at Yellow House and the Jessie in downtown Jacksonville, students have led the work, centered their own experiences and provided an honest lens though which we can all view the chaos and the possibility. We hear their demands for change and their calls for action. We stand in strong solidarity with them as they build a more just, equitable, and beautiful world.
Niveah Glover | Reign Supreme | Leo Herndon
Niveah Glover | Fleet | Micah Riggins | Phillip Simmons, Jr. | Reign Supreme
Vera Baffour | Kayden Davis | Femi Fatoki | Purnell Greens
Special thanks to Freedom Ride photographer Elanee Viray, the committed volunteers of Yellow House, and the caring adults who support these young people day in and day out.