Illuminating the Darkness: Our Carceral Landscape


Aug. 27 – Oct. 1, 2020 | UCF Art Gallery

Apr. 5 – 16, 2022 | Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Apr. 2 – 15, 2023 | Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts


Although there are over 2.3 million people currently incarcerated in the United States, the prison system remains largely invisible to the majority of Americans. Prisons tend to be built in rural areas, out-of-view and away from the daily lives of many. The physical and psychological marginalization and minoritization of system-impacted people allows us to ignore mass incarceration, even though it is among the most crucial issues of our time. Illuminating the Darkness: Our Carceral Landscape seeks to shine a light on the effects of incarceration on the lives of Americans. The culmination of a two-year project that brought contemporary artists to Central Florida to participate in a series of discussions with incarcerated students enrolled in classes as part of the Florida Prison Education Project, this exhibition brings together a diverse selection of work made by twenty-five artists from around the world. Whether in sculpture and installation, drawing and painting, video and photography, printmaking and book arts, the collected works explore slavery and freedom, despair and hope, oppression and the immutability of the human spirit.


Al Black
Christopher Etienne
Paul Rucker
Omari Booker
Jason Fronczek
Mark Strandquist
Courtney Bowles
Maria Gaspar
Hank Willis Thomas
Keith Calhoun
Shaun Leonardo
Matt Watson
Daniel McCarthy Clifford
Chandra McCormick
Purvis Young
Baz Dreisinger
Jhafis Quintero
FPEP incarcerated students


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Join us for these Virtual Programs


For Freedoms Town Hall on the Carceral Landscape and Art as Activism

Wednesday, Sept. 9 | Noon – 1 p.m. | Watch on YouTube

Sponsored by For Freedoms, the Cornell Museum of Fine Arts, and the UCF Art Gallery and featuring Omari Booker, Gisela Carbonell, and Keri Watson

Image of U.S. map made up of clustered dots

Panel Discussion on Racism and Mass Incarceration

Wednesday, Sept. 16 | Noon – 1 p.m. | Watch on YouTube

Featuring formerly incarcerated artists and activists Ruben Saldaña, Gale Buswell, Marquis McKenzie, Jason Fronczek, Daniel McCarthy Clifford, Christopher Etienne, Terrell Blount and Jhafis Quintero.

Photo of a tree

Staged Reading of Dominique Morisseau’s Blood at the Root

Saturday, Oct. 3 | 7 p.m. | Watch Here

Please note that as of September 24, this production has new premiere and streaming dates.

Based on the Jena Six in Louisiana, Dominique Morisseau’s bold and striking play examines racial and social injustice and the power of individual and collective voices in speaking up against racism and prejudice.

Reasonable Doubt

Mass incarceration is the most pressing racial justice issue of our time.

Michelle Alexander

Digital Catalog

View the digital version of the exhibit catalog below.
Digital Catalog