Carolyn Harper is a textile artist living in the Philadelphia area. Her work has a strong social justice component to it as she creates images of people or groups who have been marginalized, discriminated against, or abused. Her current work features hand embroidered batik and hand sewn art quilts of individuals who have been impacted by mass incarceration.
Black Lives Matter put the devastating impacts of mass incarceration at the forefront of public consciousness. Over the last two years, Harper has studied academic research on the effects of a fanatically punitive system that is absurdly neglectful of the culture-wide causes of crime. Though these harsh consequences of neglect are felt disproportionately by poor people and communities of color, unrelenting mass incarceration tears at the heart of our society as a whole. Entire communities of our fellow Americans have been scarred, not only the incarcerated themselves, but family members and– especially–the children left behind. The work in this exhibition is a series of portraits of individuals who have been incarcerated or are currently incarcerated. Sharing their compelling narratives is crucial to our understanding and vital to the health of the nation.