In Midnite Special, Hazelip continues his work in bringing attention to the prison industrial complex of the United States and how it disproportionately targets people of color, the poor, the mentally ill, and other oppressed communities. The human consequences of incarceration are often relegated to the status of “other” by the patriarchal system of colonialism and white supremacy; Midnite Special illuminates the deep, multigenerational scars inflicted by this unchecked institution.
In his new series Trinity of War, Hazelip interweaves three narratives: The Eternal War (the past, present, and possible future of the United States), the War on Drugs (aka people of color) and the War of Colonization (gentrification), highlighting how the prisoners of those wars are systematically fed into the Prison Industrial Complex.
During the opening, Hazelip will continue his performance series of protest tattoos, this iteration to memorialize those who have commited suicide due to incarceration. The performance will take place in a site-specific installation structure built to the size of solitary confinement cells in the U.S. prison system. Long known to be a profoundly damaging form of psychological torture, solitary confinement has been the catalyst for mental breakdowns contributing to many prison suicides. Through a performance with visual and tattoo artist James Allison, a lifelong friend of Hazelip’s who began collaborating with him on this project while still incarcerated, Midnite Special underscores the breakdown of sacred bonds that the prison system harshly imposes upon families and communities.
Additionally, Hazelip collaborates with organizer and multidisciplinary artist Ginger Dunnill for Mother Tongue, a site-specific sound and fiber installation presented in loving memory to all of the young people of color across Amerikkka who continue to take their own lives as a result of the mental and physical trauma of being incarcerated. For the exhibition’s opening programming, Dunnill collaborates with poet and visual artist Demian DinéYazhi´ in an action that will embody the intention of Mother Tongue and amplify the Queer and Indigenous experience in relationship to the prison industrial complex and suicide.
Rasheed Jamal will be performing music from His forthcoming album entitled, 22 Grams (iAMTHATiAM), that testifies to the experience of a young black male in modern day America, given from the perspective of a disembodied “Soul” — the main protagonist in the narrative.
The work of multi-disciplinary artist and activist Jesse Hazelip confronts toxic Western cultural practices and social injustices including the inhumanity of the for-profit prison industry, continued police brutality and the violent impacts of extractive industry on indigenous peoples and the land. Hazelip is known for his skilled drawings of various animal forms which embody concept and act to guide the public towards developing further understanding, empathy and action.
Hazelip’s practice ranges from monumental site-specific, illegal installation wheatpaste cutouts and mural installations on public walls to detailed paintings on found objects and fine-line pen and ink drawings. Hazelip also carves prison imagery and script into animal bone, creates performance and installation work and engages in long-term collaborations with other artists, homeless youth and incarcerated peers. Since 2014 Hazelip has maintained an ongoing tattoo performance protest project where the artist adorns his head and face with tattoos specifically critiquing the US prison industrial complex.
Hazelip holds a BFA from Art Center College of Design and currently resides on the West Coast, USA. Hazelip has shown extensively at galleries throughout the United States and internationally, and his work resides in numerous private collections.
Ginger Dunnill collaborates with artists globally, creating work that inspires human connection, intersectionality and speaks on social justice. Dunnill is the creator of Broken Boxes Podcast, a project which promotes visibility for Indigenous artists, activist focused artists, Queer artists, women identifying artists, artists of color and mixed/lost/stolen heritage artists. She is also a founding member of Winter Count, a collective cultivating awareness, respect and protection for land and water and co-organizer of Indigenous Goddess Gang, an online platform providing recognition and space for reclaiming knowledge from an Indigenous femme lens.
Demian DinéYazhi’s artwork is materialized through the lens of curatorial inquiry, site-specific installation(s), poetic expression, social engagement, and art production. DinéYazhi’ was raised in a matrilineal household and his maternal grandfather served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Navajo Code Talker. Therefore, the undercurrents of DinéYazhi’s work include a reverence toward traditional Diné practices, storytelling, traditional ceremonies, and acknowledging the criticality and sacredness of land, while simultaneously challenging contemporary archetypes of authenticity and jurisdiction. DinéYazhi’ creates artwork that challenges hierarchal structures and re-utilizes conceptual art as a tool for truth-telling, sovereignty, uprising, and reclamation of language, culture, and self.