Park McArthur translates her experience as a wheelchair user into quiet but politically charged reflections on how structures of dependency and autonomy dictate the ways in which bodies move—or are stymied—in social spaces. McArthur is particularly interested in how institutional or municipal signage operates to instruct, or impede, access. In Softly, effectively, 2017, she arranged a pair of signs to mimic the back-to-back configurations that hang above and across multidirectional highways. By choosing not to add any paint or symbols, McArthur created a marker that functions as a silent monument to no place in particular and yet evokes a sense of mystery.
Zanele Muholi uses light and contrast to exaggerate the darkness of black skin in the three self-portraits on view in We the People: Fezekile IV, Cincinnati, Zonk’zizwe; Green Market Square, Cape Town; and Misiwe III, Bijlmer, Amsterdam. Muholi’s bearing suggests an unapologetic pride in black identity. “Just like our ancestors,” the artist has said, “we live as black people 365 days a year, and we should speak without fear.” At the same time as they celebrate the beauty of blackness, these photographs also allude to problematic representations of people of color by white artists throughout the history of art.
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith's Homeland, 2017, belongs to a body of paintings that she has created since the 1990s in which she explores the intersection of identity and place through the schematic map of the United States. In Homeland, multicolored rays emanate from the Flathead Reservation in Montana where Smith grew up. In redefining the contours of the country outward from this spot, Smith counters the presumption that a nation’s “heart” should be centered in its political, financial, or cultural capitals. In doing so, she raises questions about where we find our own centers and how we form our identities in relation to our concept of home.