Teaching Children about Racial Justice - 3D virtual exhibition by Unbound Visual Arts

Teaching Children about Racial Justice

Thu, 10/07/2021 to Sun, 12/19/2021

curated by:

Teaching Children about Racial Justice

Presented by Unbound Visual Arts

Curated and designed by Kyung Eun Lee

Image above: Ngoc-Tran Vu, Asian Women, Asian Sisters, ink and oil on canvas

Exhibit Artists - Sonia Ben Achoura, Paul Ayihawu, Sarah Buckius, Ugonma Chibuzo, Véronique Anne Epiter, Anum Farooq, Yee Jae Kim, Lewanda Lim, Elisandra Lopes, Mathew Okazaki, Merlo Philiossaint, Christina Qi, Peter Slingluff, Carve Stone, Jennifer Turpin, Mary Vannucci, Ngoc-Tran Vu

Exhibit Assistance - Judsine Blaisdell Whyte, Abigail Brown, Mary Doyle, Christopher Rizzo, Natalie Farman

Curatorial Statement:

“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside…
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me” - Whitney Houston (Footnote 1)

Racial justice entails more than simply self-identifying as being “anti-racism.” Achieving true racial justice requires numerous resources, one of the most important ones being time. Hate crime and racism often stem from a lack of education. Therefore, racial equity education is one of the most imperative solutions in the fight for racial equality.

Racial equality is defined as the fundamental impartial treatment of individuals of all races, resulting in equal access and opportunities for everyone. Racial justice is the elimination of inequity and discrimination to attain and preserve racial equity through preventive actions.2 Clear, direct ideas regarding racial justice need to be conveyed to children so as to encourage them to take the initiative in the path toward racial equality. Through this honest communication, we are all motivated and empowered to make positive changes in ourselves, our communities, and our societies for the development of children and young adults. This exhibition makes future generations engage in social justice for real change. The art presented aims to create diverse and grounded discourse regarding racial equity as a direct response to a rapidly changing art world and as a way to navigate, foster, and cultivate conversations with the public.

It is vital to have important, open dialogues regarding race with children and to know how to best communicate those messages in a manner that is able to be understood by young minds. It is crucial to validate children’s experiences, such as how simply existing in the world as anything other than “white” may lead them to experience less safety. Adults need to instill in children the value and beauty that every individual has, despite others’ unawareness of it. Warnings of what they may encounter should be honestly given to children, consistently paired with reassurances of their self-worth.

“I’m the type of parent that wants my children to understand that the world may hate them simply based on the color of their skin.”3   
“Be very clear about how much you love your child’s eyes, your child’s skin color, your child’s hair, your child’s features. And at the same time to let them know that not everyone is going to appreciate those qualities about them.”4 “You want your kids to be anti-racist but also to be settled and proud of the skin they’re in.”5
“Ask them how they’re feeling and give them permission to express difficult emotions. Other questions to ask: ‘Have you ever seen something like this happen before?’ ‘How would you feel if someone treated you this way?’”6
“It’s OK to express feeling angry, feeling sad, feeling disappointed, but in a more regulated way. You’re modeling, being able to express feelings, and modeling emotion regulation. And showing our children in that way, that it’s OK to have these feelings. It’s OK to talk about them. And that has been shown to increase resilience for children and families.”7

Teaching Children about Racial Justice addresses the concern of injustices and inequality through artworks that allow audiences to gain an understanding of racial equity. In addition, the works expand that reality to recognize Asian hate and racism through deeper visual and emotional connections with children, their families, and our community. The exhibition also fosters conversations with children, their families, and our community through art.

Footnotes are located in the catalogue on the UVA website.

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