Sherrill Roland began his socially engaged artwork The Jumpsuit Project in 2016 and continues to use his project to ignite conversations around issues related to mass incarceration. While a graduate student, Roland was wrongfully convicted and spent over ten months in prison. Although eventually exonerated of all charges and granted a bill of innocence, his experiences with the justice system had a lasting effect on both his life and his artistic practice. When he returned to campus, he wore an orange jumpsuit everyday up to and during his graduation ceremony, encouraging all who encountered him and his jumpsuit to address their own prejudices toward those incarcerated. Through sharing his own story, and creating a space for others to process, question, and share, he sheds light on the enormous darkness incarceration brings.
Since graduating with his MFA from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro in May of 2017, Roland has been traveling widely to exhibit, perform, and discuss his experience and art. In 2017 the New York Times included Roland in their list “From the Personal to the Political, 19 Artists to Watch Next Year,” and in 2018 The Studio Museum in Harlem exhibited his The Jumpsuit Project, which they acquired for their permanent collection.
For more information, see: https://www.jumpsuitproject.com/