‘By(e) Default’ explores systematic and racial oppression

Pia Mayer, Staff Writer

Galleries are the beating heart of the art world, and Mesa has one of its very own. “By(e) Default,” curated by Andrea Chung, aims to highlight contradictory thought on race and systematic oppression.

Through the works of five contemporary artists and three poets, they exhibited challenges that have occurred and continue to occur in American history as they engaged in both the revision and celebration of Black History. The exhibit features the works of Elizabeth Axtman, Suzanne Broughel, Cortney Charleston, Lissa Corona, JC Lenochan, Jason Patterson, Claudia Rankine, and Nicole Sealey.

The artists incited thought-provoking discussions on race, the idea being that “whiteness is the default, but it denies that it is privileged, all while fearing the loss of its position as the ‘default,’” according to the description about the exhibition. The artists challenged white history as being falsely interpreted as American history, aiming to expose the fact that America was founded upon contributions by people of color.

Some pieces didn’t serve to critique America but to look at how America has been viewed through a “lens of whiteness.” According to Jason Patterson and his piece on “Challenging the Whiteness Framing of the History and Legacy of Abraham Lincoln,” by viewing America through a single white perspective, all ideas on racial equality promoted by Lincoln have been overlooked and forgotten.

The gallery is located in D101, across from the LRC building and will be on display until the 28th of February.