GCC to Host Thought-Provoking Imo Nse Imeh Art Installation March 1-April 7

February 27, 2023

Please note: The following article and art installation may contain language that some will find offensive. To preserve the artist's intent and message, GCC has chosen to include the language that some may find offensive.

GCC will host an art installation by Nigerian-American visual artist and scholar Dr. Imo Nse Imeh titled "Ten Little Nigger Girls."

The installation will be on display March 1 to April 7 in the South Gallery, and will feature an artist talk with Imeh on March 22 at noon in the South Gallery. According to an artist's statement by Imeh, the collection is a retelling of a children's book, titled Ten Little Nigger Girls, by Nora Case, published in 1907.

"The children's book is comprised of racist stereotypes about black people, particularly black children," Imeh said in his artist's statement. "The story, which unfolds as a nursery rhyme, features a cast of ten black girls, who are each eliminated one-by-one, and sometimes in horrific ways."

Imeh's collection is a response and revision of the book, and "features contemporary black girls in various states of danger in the present-day," and the art "seeks to examine the language, history, and realities of ongoing racial subjugation in America, the invisibility of young black people, and the misfortune of how we collectively decide the degree to which we ought to place value on the lives of black children."

In spite of the potentially-controversial title of the collection, GCC felt that it was important to showcase the artwork prominently on campus.

"Race relations and perceptions of race in America are still fraught and tense topics, and we fully support Dr. Imo Nse Imeh's confrontation of these issues through his artwork. We hope that in spite of a title that some may find offensive, the collection will help foster real conversations about race in America and, potentially, change," GCC Pres. Michelle Schutt said.

Imeh, in addition to being a visual artist and scholar, is also an associate professor of art and art history at Westfield State University. Previously, he attended Columbia University and received his master's and doctoral degrees in Art History from Yale.