Art exhibit reveals racial injustice with “Hooded Truths” at University YMCA


Brian Bauer

Artwork by Candace Hunter for her exhibit Hooded Truths sits on display at the University YMCA on Wright and Chalmers.

By Ashni Gandhi, Staff Writer

For Candace Hunter, the hoodie is more than an article of clothing. It’s a symbol of racial injustice and blackness in the United States.

Hunter, a Chicago-based collage artist, displays various images through the use of the common hoodie in her exhibit “Hooded Truths”, which was unveiled at the University YMCA Thursday, Aug. 25.

Currently, part of the exhibit can be viewed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends in the University YMCA Murphy Gallery. However, the space did not allow for the display of Hunter’s full collection.

The death of Trayvon Martin inspired the series. He was killed in 2012 by George Zimmerman, who was later acquitted of murder charges.

Hunter noticed many artists reacted to Martin’s death by depicting him in a hoodie.

“The hood became synonymous with Trayvon and the things that were going on in the country,” Hunter said. “I decided to take it a little further because I realized that his death was just one of the symptoms going on in the nation.”

She does not limit the scope of her art to a specific time period; rather, her art spans from the Middle Passage slave trade to present-day death row inmates.

The hood serves “as a loop of which to look through and be able to look at injustices,” Hunter said.

Ann Rasmus, associate director for the University YMCA, runs the Art @ the Y program. When looking for artists to feature, she considers the Y’s four focal points: social justice, environmental work, faith and action and cross-cultural understanding.
Rasmus noted that “Hooded Truths” informs and creates a meaningful space for the community through the hood.

“For Art at the Y, I am always seeking artists who are making important work that connects to the mission of the Y,” Rasmus said. Both Hunter and Rasmus agree that the art promotes dialogue.

Michal Walewender, a junior in actuarial science, believes Hunter is portraying the instances of mistreatment of individuals in the history of the United States as covered by the hood.

“The hood is to symbolize how the injustice has been covered and now is resurfacing,” Walewender said. “The exhibit is trying to show what is underneath the hood, and is in reference to one specific person who was killed and caught the artist’s attention.”

Walewender further states that this artwork is vital for students as it “tests what (university students) believe is right and what we learn about each other so we can become more open-minded and aware of our surroundings.”

Hunter directs her artwork to both students and community members to look at history’s effect of current societal discussions.

“I hope that my artwork can start a dialogue and that questions can be asked by themselves or in a group about what is going on in the world,” Hunter said.

The exhibit will be displayed at the YMCA until Oct. 7.

[email protected]