Sherrill Roland used his wrongful conviction which caused him to serve just over 10 months in prison as an innocent man into art.
Just before entering the first year of his studies at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Sherrill Roland was shocked when he found out that he faced felony charges in Washington, D.C. He refuses to comment on the reasons around his arrest, but based on a mere testimony from two parties and a detective, he found himself being sentenced to a year in prison.
This prompted Roland to create something that highlighted “the deep-seated social and political issues surrounding the culture of the prison system,” and with that he produced The Jumpsuit Project. The project is a work of performance art that sees Roland wear a bright orange prison jumpsuit whilst he’s on campus, in doing this he aims to bring up conversations around incarceration in America and challenge the public’s view of those with a criminal record.
Incarceration is a life changing experience, regardless of the length of the sentence, an individual is negatively branded for life, even when they are completely innocent. Roland has used his own terrible and unjust experience to bring a hidden issue into the light. His work will be displayed as part of the ‘Fictions’ exhibition at the Studio Museum, 144 West 125th Street in New York until 7th January 2018. To find out more, click here.