In 2013, the War Resisters League, a pacifist organization active in the United States since 1923, put out a call in Critical Resistance’s The Abolitionist for stories of tear-gassing and pepper-spraying in prisons and jails. Hundreds of people sent in letters revealing the rampancy of human rights abuses in incarceration centers. Freya Powell’s When does I become We, based on her video On Fire like Hell Fire, gathers some of these harrowing accounts of prisoners’ exposure to chemical weapons into a polyphony of voices relating the injustices suffered through gassing and medical negligence and the lasting physical and psychological trauma resulting from these experiences.
Freya Powell uses time-based, drawn, and linguistic platforms to explore language and its relationship to memory, myth, and history. Her work has been exhibited in solo shows at Art in General, Brooklyn, NY (2017), Herron School of Art and Design, Indianapolis, IN (2017), Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona, Spain (2014) and Emerson Dorsch, Miami, FL (2013). She has participated in group shows at institutions including EFA Project Space, New York, NY (2016), Queens Museum, Corona, NY (2016), Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY (2015), #1 Cartagena: the First International Biennale of Art, Cartagena de India, Colombia (2014), and the Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY 2013), among others. She earned an MFA from Hunter College, New York, NY (2012) and a BA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (2006).
Author: Freya Powell
Dimensions: 19 x 12 cm