False Narrative, Alvin Smith, 2019, acrylic, dimensions: 31.5in x 42.5 in

Artist statement: “When I’m moved to create a piece, I find that listening to that inner voice always leads to something creative, fun, and sometimes challenging for viewers. But I’m always true to my own vision.” - Alvin Smith

Smith, who is currently incarcerated, has been a practicing artist for many years. As a boy, his father encouraged him to be creative, tinkering with bicycle parts and other ordinary things to come up with personalized objects. His father’s help inspired him to mentor young men in prison. His own body of work is varied, and he often calls attention to the history of structural racism in the United States, using inventive metaphors and images from popular culture, presented from his unique point of view.

Reflection Prompts:

  • How does Smith play with the unexpected, leaving the viewer to question what they’re seeing in the painting?
  • What narratives about present-day American racism does Smith seem to be responding to and critiquing?

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Last Updated

July 13, 2020 11:27 a.m.


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