AMES, IA — An exhibition of artwork exploring injustice from the perspective of a young black man will be on display Feb. 19 through March 9 in the Community Gallery at the Octagon Center for the Arts, 427 Douglas Ave., with a reception and panel discussion Thursday, Feb. 22.

In “The Negro from the South,” Cameron Gray, an Iowa State University graduate student in integrated visual arts, offers a glimpse into his experiences growing up as “a second-class citizen” in Birmingham, Alabama.

“As a child, I was raised to maneuver through systems that were not created for a person like myself. Many people may not be able to empathize with that statement. It might be incomprehensible, and that is okay,” he says in his artist statement.

“This exhibition will give perspective on my world. When entering those gallery doors, the viewer is … [compelled] to walk through other minorities’ shoes, and mine, [with the work] giving voice to the people that are voiceless. The current atmosphere within this country calls for action… . This is the time to reconsider the meaning of humanity and to create an America for all.”

Gray first began sharing his observations, feelings and experiences of racism through his artwork as an undergraduate student at Auburn University, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in printmaking in December 2013. He then moved to St. Louis to work as a press assistant with a printmaker for three years before entering the integrated visual arts graduate program at Iowa State. Gray has exhibited his work in solo and group shows in Alabama, Iowa, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Italy.

Reception and panel discussion

A public reception for “A Negro from the South” will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Community Gallery. Hosted by the Octagon and the ISU College of Design Multicultural Liaison Office, an artist panel and discussion on people of color in the arts will begin at 6 p.m.

Panelists will include Gray; Brenda Jones, University Professor of art and visual culture at Iowa State; Eulanda Sanders, ISU professor of apparel, events and hospitality management; and Mitchell Squire, ISU professor of architecture. Reginald Stewart, ISU vice president for diversity and inclusion, will facilitate the discussion.



Cameron Gray, Integrated Visual Arts, ceg0012@iastate.edu
Kristen Greteman, Octagon Center for the Arts, (515) 232-5331, ext. 222, exhibits@octagonarts.org
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu