What can one individual, required by tough-on-crime laws to complete all 50 years of his sentence, offer from behind bars? Through his artworks, Darrell Fair contributes to a large and diverse community. Inspired by the devastating poetry of Jumah Al Dossari, a Bahraini citizen wrongfully detained for five years in Guantanamo, Fair drew a sanguine counterimage, imagining the tender reunion of an incarcerated man and his long-lost wife, clutching one another in an anywhere landscape of repeating patterns. Moved by the experience of a cellmate, who watched a fatal hostage situation involving his daughter unfold on the television news—and was later denied permission to attend her funeral—Fair hand-drew an animation sequence that explicates the heartbreaking alienation of being cut off from family. And in two collaboratively-designed, community-painted murals, he provides neighborhood amelioration of the most meaningful kind: in North Lawndale, a reminder that strong children are the “faces of hope”; in Washington Park, a tribute to Dr. Margaret Burroughs that insists, through Fair’s image of a spiraling clock, that the time—for justice, for community, for beauty—is now.
—Lori Waxman 2022-09-02 12:57 PM