The Crusader Newspaper Group

Portrait quilts of survivors of police torture & traveling memorial exhibit

Logan Center Exhibitions, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture (CSRPC), and the Pozen Center Human Rights Lab (HRL) at the University of Chicago are pleased to present “Makes Me Wanna Holla: Art, Death & Imprisonment,” featuring 2022-23 “Artist for the People” Practitioner Fellows Dorothy Burge and Michelle Daniel Jones with Mourning Our Losses.

DOROTHY BURGE. Photo by Daris Jasper.

Burge and Daniel Jones completed fellowship projects exploring social injustices of the carceral system. Their work engages critical race and human rights’ issues by looking back at forgotten, ignored, or suppressed stories and people. This exhibition asks: “Who gets remembered?”

For this exhibition, Burge presents “Won’t You Help to Sing These Songs of Freedom?,” a series of portrait quilts depicting survivors of Chicago police torture; two quilts honoring African American trans women murdered in Chicago in 2022; and a lifesize portrait quilt of Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 who survived four decades of solitary confinement.

Accompanying the torture survivor quilts are newly collected oral histories, artworks, family photos and poems compiled by students at the School of the Art Institute.

As both curator and artist, Daniel Jones presents the “Mourning Our Losses (MOL) Traveling Memorial, We Shall Remember.” This exhibit immerses attendees in a multi-sensory experience of COVID-19 in prisons using sound, statistics and the artistry of those currently and formerly incarcerated that speaks to the horrors of the pandemic.

MOL highlights the moral cost of mass incarceration while honoring the lives of all who died while living or working behind bars.

Practitioner Fellows are supported in part by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Centering Race Consortium, a partnership between race studies centers at Brown University, Stanford University, UChicago, and Yale University to center the study of race in the arts and humanities.

MOL’s Traveling Memorial is also supported by the Prison Neighborhood + Arts/Education Program and Illinois Humanities.

Burge is a fabric and multimedia artist and community activist who is inspired by history and current social justice issues. She is a self-taught quilter who began creating fiber art in the 1990s after the birth of her daughter, Maya.

She is a native and current resident of Chicago, but is descendent from a long line of quilters who hailed from Mississippi. Her realization that the history and culture of her people were being transmitted across generations in this art form inspired her to use this medium as a tool to teach history, raise cultural awareness, and inspire action.

Burge received her Master of Arts in Urban Planning and Policy and her Bachelor of Arts in Art Design, both from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

MICHELLE DANIEL JONES. Photo by Raechel Bosch.

Daniel Jones, ABD, is a sixth-year doctoral student in American Studies at New York University. Her dissertation focuses on creative liberation strategies of incarcerated people in Alabama.

As an artist, Daniel Jones finds ways to funnel her research into literature, theater, visual art, and photography. She is co-editor with Elizabeth Nelson of a new history of Indiana’s carceral institutions for women with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated colleagues titled, “Who Would Believe a Prisoner? Indiana Women’s Carceral Institutions, 1848-1920, published in 2023.

“Mourning Our Losses” (MOL) was created in April 2020 by a volunteer group of educators, artists, students, and organizers—many formerly incarcerated—committed to the release of people from prisons, jails, and immigration facilities across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Viewing incarcerated people as multifaceted human beings is at the core of their work. While they refuse to dehumanize incarcerated individuals the way the prison system does every day, they are deliberate in exposing the conditions they endured behind bars, which often led to their deaths.

Their memorials embrace advocacy and movement-building, through telling stories that mourn and celebrate their lives.

Opening Reception; Friday, July 7 | 6-8:00 p.m.

Holla Back: Art and Conversations; Saturday, July 8 | 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Screening Room & Great Hall. Growing out of the exhibition, the artists will take you further in the world of art, death and imprisonment with conversations and workshop.

For more information about other associated panels running through mid-September, visit

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago (

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