One of the most personal examples of having to overcome instances of hate may be Hugh Merrill’s large print “WhiteOut: A Family of Privilege,” which details current and past members of Merrill’s family who have been actively involved in creating racial disharmony. His distant cousin John Merrill is the current Secretary of State in Alabama and has, in the artist’s words, “helped craft voter ID laws to disenfranchise people of color, immigrants and the poor from their ability to vote.” The artist’s grandfather, Hugh D. Merrill, was the judge in a 1918 trial that resulted in the “legal lynching” of an innocent black soldier, Sergeant Edgar Caldwell. Another attorney in the family, the artist’s Uncle Hugh, defended a KKK terrorist that burned the “Freedom Riders” bus in Anniston, Alabama in 1961.
James martin James Martin is an independent consultant, curator, educator and writer based in the Kansas City area. Most recently, he served as guest curator of “Chromaphilia,” an exhibition of Kansas City Art Institute ceramics department alumni, on view at the KCAI Gallery through June 4. Since 2001, he has focused on working with art located outside of typical art venues, such as public art and corporate and hospital art collections.