Memphis College of Art Debuts Exhibition Exploring Racial Identity


Contact: Cara Sievers
Director of College Communications

(901) 272-5111


Jan. 14, 2013

Singular Masses: An Examination of Racial IdentityMemphis College of Art Debuts Exhibition Exploring Racial Identity

UPDATE: The opening of Singular Masses has been moved to Thursday, Jan. 24. All other dates and times, including receptions, remain unchanged.

MEMPHIS, Tenn.—In celebration of Black History Month, Memphis College of Art announces an upcoming exhibition, Singular Masses: An Examination of Racial Identity. The exhibition is on view Jan. 23 – March 9 at the Hyde Gallery, Nesin Graduate School, 477 S. Main, with receptions on trolley nights Jan. 25 and Feb. 22, 6–9 p.m. The exhibition is being sponsored by an AutoZone ArtsZone grant administered by ArtsMemphis. Admission is free, and the exhibition and receptions are open to the public.

Singular Masses, which is curated by MCA’s Coordinator of Exhibitions and Lectures Cat Peña, presents the work of seven artists: Yashua Klos, Anthony Lee, Lester Merriweather, Carl E. Moore, Toyin Odutola, Io Palmer and Matthew Thomas. Each artist offers his or her unique perspective on personal identity and how it is shaped or influenced by factors such as race or racial stereotype.

“To understand one’s identity is possibly the most personal and mysterious exploration one can take. While we all would like to think each of us innately has attributes that are unique unto ourselves, we often look to the world around us for additional cues,” said Peña. “Unfortunately, many of these cues are stereotypes that society places on us to neatly categorize (or delineate) topics that are complicated and multifaceted such as race, religion and sex. Sadly, through repetition, a lack of understanding and the absence of personal perseverance to pull back the layers of these topics, these stereotypes often become traits we intentionally or unintentionally assign to ourselves. This exhibition is inspired by artists who have embarked on peeling back these layers to further investigate stereotypes.”

In conjunction with this exhibition, MCA also welcomes artist Io Palmer as part of the college’s ongoing Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Palmer’s presentation, which also is sponsored by an AutoZone ArtsZone grant administered by ArtsMemphis, will take place on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Callicott Auditorium (Rust Hall, Overton Park). Palmer, who has work featured in Singular Masses, will discuss her current focus of exploring complex issues of class, race and identity.

Memphis College of Art provides a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. The region’s only independent art and design college, MCA is fully accredited with expert, nationally renowned faculty and grants BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees with graduates excelling in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @memphisart.

Memphis College of Art does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other status protected by law. Additional Information