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NKU Exhibition Explores Emotions Behind Social Unrest

A new art exhibition at Northern Kentucky University explores themes and emotions behind social unrest.


“The Emotional Force of Race: An Exhibition and Call for Creative Response,” features the Mourning the Creation of Racial Categories project.

Led by Sociology Professor Dr. Joan Ferrante and by poet India Hackle, a May 2020 graduate, the project uses art to challenge assumptions about who we are and seeks to contribute to the national conversation around social unrest and racial disparities, a news release said.

The ongoing project began as a five-part documentary series. However, with NKU’s blended learning format in the fall semester, the project found a new way to expand and showcase the campus community’s work.

Dr. Ferrante, Hackle and NKU’s School of the Arts (SOTA) worked with over 125 student and faculty artists across campus to create an exhibition of collaborative pieces of art that help to understand the sources of implicit bias, spark conversations and enable positive change.

”For many, race is something that just is and has always been. This is a new approach to an important conversation that needs to be had in our communities,” said Dr. Ferrante. “Until we understand why and how racial categories matter and its impact, we cannot address the weight they put on our relationships and communities.”

In addition to NKU’s SOTA and College of Arts and Sciences, the project receives local and national support to produce the films.

“We are at a pivotal point in our history. We must continue working together to address the systemic racism that disproportionally impacts the livelihoods of communities of color. The exhibition is an invaluable opportunity to deepen your understanding and expand your world view with of race,” said President Ashish Vaidya.

Curated by Hackle and Dr. Ferrante, the interactive exhibition is free and open to all community members. To register and learn more about the project, visit NKU’s School of the Arts website.

-Staff report

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