by Laura Hutson
There's an exhibit of art in the halls of Vanderbilt's Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center that you could easily overlook if you didn't know what you were seeing. The paintings are all uniform size, and painted with bright acrylic paints — but that's less of an artistic decision than it is a necessary requirement of the artist's living quarters. Ndume Olatushani painted each of them while in prison. But unlike the artists whose work is showing in the neighboring Sarratt Gallery, Olatushani was at yesterday's exhibition opening. He was released from prison last June, after serving 28 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
Watch the above video for a quick introduction to Olatushani and his story, scroll through a few snapshots I took of the gallery space below, and check out the exhibition at the Black Cultural Center — it will be on exhibit through February, and at least one of the paintings will be featured in the center's permanent collection.