Ubuntu: I Am Because We Are (Art from the Juvenile Justice System and Beyond)

November 6 to December 4, 2009

The exhibit will address the idea of Ubuntu, a South African term meaning “a person is a person through other persons.” It is a philosophy of life that embraces interconnectedness and understands that we are what we are because of and through others. It also implies choices that can generate peace. Positive actions reverberate between us as do negative ones. Ubuntu allows us to consider how responding with greater empathy, interest and forgiveness, rather than apathy, disinterest and revenge, might elevate us all.

Artistic Noise is an arts program for youth (13-18) in the juvenile justice system in the cities of Boston and New York. The program provides an opportunity for participants to process and document their lives using the visual arts while learning valuable survival skills. Through the creation of a visual autobiography and the exhibition and marketing of their artwork, the young people involved are empowered by:

  1. following a complex project through to fruition;
  2. having their voices heard through a visual medium;
  3. participating in a collaborative project with their peers and teachers.

Artistic Noise (formerly Hear Us Make Artistic Noise or H.U.M.A.N.) was founded in Boston in 2001 and in 2008 developed a chapter in NYC. The program recently established itself as an independent non-profit but previously operated under the umbrella of the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Program (JRAP) at Boston College Law School. The Artistic Director of Artistic Noise in Boston is Kate Jellinhaus 89.