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Meet the Art Collective Fighting for PoC Visibility in Ohio

A new show by MINT Collective elevates the voices of People of Color in Columbus, Ohio.
Rodolfo Diaz: Exoneration: 39 Years of Imprisonment. All images courtesy of MINT Collective

Street art-inspired pieces representative of the harm of gentrification, wooden structures and balloons mimicking the frailty of institutions, and other politically charged works investigate how systemic racism influences the mobility of people of color at the BOOST MOBILE art show. These mixed-media installations were spread across a 17,000 square foot former meat processing facility that now goes by the name of MINT Collective.


Running from September 23rd to October 14th and curated by artist Jacob Mason-Macklin, the show served as a response to the recent murders of two young black teenagers, Henry Green and Ty’re King, and the unjust system in which their families suffered. Featuring the works of artists Tyler Davis, Rodolfo Diaz, Cameron Granger, Kamron Hazel and Jacob Mason-Macklin, BOOST MOBILE focused on the artists' feelings on immobility. “I wanted BOOST to be an exhibition where we as People of Color, first and foremost, could begin to talk about our experiences and what’s been and still is going on in our cities,” Macklin tells The Creators Project.


Jacob Mason-­Macklin: Pleasure N’ Pain (The Next Level of Flight)

MINT Collective was founded in August 2014 by 12 artists. The collective provides a space that is “a rejection of the idea that art and artists must look or act a certain way or that systems of power are impenetrable and untouchable” and looks to support artists that engage in social discourses through performances, exhibitions, screenings, and more. “In a time when the alternative has been monetized we represent the constant push toward a nonhierarchical structure that finds its strength in solidarity and numbers,” MINT says. A riff on the cellular provider, BOOST MOBILE plays on marketing tactics used on “urban consumer base,” instead using the name instead to “boost mobility” in discourse and action.


Tyler Davis. A Leopard Can’t Change Its Spots (Damn My Nigga Who Next?)

Tyler Davis’s installation, A Leopard Can’t Change Its Spots adorns prints of victims over police uniforms, commenting on the inability to humanize victims and see them separately from the color of their skin. Davis’ 1 million bottle bags, nigga hangs used bottles that the artist collected from his neighborhood onto the ceiling of the space, bringing attention to companies that specifically advertise to black communities.


Tyler Davis. A Leopard Can’t Change It’s Spots (Damn My Nigga Who Next?)

Exoneration: 39 Years of Imprisonment, by Rodolfo Diaz (top image), creates a visual accompaniment to the story of Ricky Jackson, a Cleveland native who spent 39 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. The work reduces his identity to two mug shots, presenting him in the preconceived light of a “criminal.” “I wanted to exhibit how his long-term imprisonment limited the documentation of his life, and created two disparate individuals,” says Diaz.


I Hear A New World, Kamron Hazel

Kamron Hazel's I Hear A New World uses wooden structures and objects to represent larger social structures and institutions that govern mobility. “Specifically, these objects are using the language of post-industrial cities and the ongoing urban renewal that unfolds over time during their vulnerable states.”


I Hear A New World, Kamron Hazel

Cameron Granger’s Grad Party video installation and performance expresses the fear of being reduced to nothing despite efforts to blend into society as an accomplished and educated citizen. “Lying on the ground in my graduation gown, lifeless, showered in glitter, I'm lying atop the accolades, the degrees and nice clothes that I was promised would keep me safe from a world that couldn't care less, while the framed projections on the wall show a futile effort to immortalize accolades that prove worthless for a dead man,” describes Granger.


Cameron Granger, Grad Party


Pleasure N’ Pain (The Next Level of Flight), Jacob Mason-Macklin

Pleasure N’ Pain (The Next Level of Flight) by curator and artist Jacob Mason-Macklin, depicts the current state of gentrification in his neighborhood through a painterly installation. The work places advertisements about “an upcoming neighborhood” against a homely carpet and a picture of a the artist’s grandfather, speaking to the popularization of gentrification and the danger it poses to communities of color.


Amidst the terror surrounding us, the innocent lives taken, and the communities destroyed, it’s of great importance that MINT Collective supports these voices. Allowing for the worries and frustration of people of color to be expressed and the concealed structures that dictate mobility of people of color to be seen, BOOST MOBILE exemplifies the frightening spirit of our time and looks to fight through it by elevating PoC voices through art.


Pleasure N’ Pain (The Next Level of Flight), Jacob Mason-Macklin

Click here to learn more about MINT Collective.


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