Legacy & Legend
The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College and Pitzer College Art Galleries are pleased to announce the most ambitious exhibition to date of the California artist Sadie Barnette. Sadie Barnette: Legacy & Legend is a two-venue presentation of the artist’s recent work that brings together her drawings, installations, and photographs that explore intimate family narratives within global discourses on race and power. The exhibition, curated by Benton senior curator Rebecca McGrew and Pitzer director Ciara Ennis, will be on view from July 22 through December 19, 2021.
The presentation at the Benton evolved from an earlier work of Barnette’s, Dear 1968, . . . (2017), which focused on the 500-page surveillance dossier amassed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the artist’s father, Rodney Ellis Barnette. A lifelong social-justice activist, he founded the Compton chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968. This dossier reveals the intimidation tactics that the FBI used to harass the elder Barnette and his community. In this earlier project, the artist reclaimed these files by adorning them with bright pink spray paint, glitter, and rhinestones. Her embellishments transformed symbols of oppression into emblems of a community’s strength and resilience.