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'Perception' art exhibit showcases re-entry stories of formerly incarcerated individuals

The two-day event is hosted by advocacy groups GANGGANG and the Marion County Re-entry Coalition.
Posted at 11:23 PM, Mar 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-11 12:28:40-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A first of its kind interactive art exhibit put on by two Indy advocacy organizations helped share the stories of formerly incarcerated individuals.

Creative advocacy firm GANGGANG joined the Marion County Re-entry Coalition (MCRC) to host a two-day visual art experience called “Perceptions.”

The exhibit features photographs, illustrations, and audio stories that highlighted re-entry emotions and journeys from formerly incarcerated individuals.

Perception Story from Montez Day

"I want everybody to see joy, a beautiful smile,” said LaQurea Miles, a storyteller and formerly incarcerated resident who participated in the project.

From behinds bars to proudly in front of their own pictures, Miles was among five residents who shared their perception stories.

“I’ve been to prison multiple times and through it all I still stand strong, and I still demand to change,” said Miles. “No matter what we did before our past is the past for a reason. It’s who you grow to be. You take the past and shape it into something great.”

"Perception" interactive visual art exhibit

Two local artists helped capture the storytellers past and present.

“The drawings that I did are meant to represent perception instead of truth or reality. So, the actual photograph is who they are and the drawing is fake,” said William Minion, the artist who created charcoal illustrations.

“I really wanted to dig into them and see what makes them happy. I wanted them to feel the joy that they feel in life and what they want to be perceived as,” added Jay Goldz, the artist who took the photographs.

Perception Story from Daniel Higgs

The artwork not only allowed visitors to see the stories on display but also hear them by scanning a QR code and listening to an audio recording from the storytellers.

The biggest goal of the project was to humanize the storytellers, highlight their re-integration journeys and break the stigma.

“No matter the story, the platform, we aim to find creative ways to elevate these stories,” explained GANGGANG’s development coordinator José Martínez.

Perception Story from Christina Stott

“We just want society to have a collective compassion towards people who are wanting to successfully get back into their community,” added Lauren Hansen, Associate at Community Solutions with Marion County Re-Entry Coalition.

GANGGANG and MCRC say they hope to continue doing these kinds of projects in the future.