Author Archives: adrienneskyeroberts

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It Is Our Duty to Fight: A Curator’s Interview with Adrienne Skye Roberts


I was asked to participate in Strange Bedfellows, a group exhibition about collaborative practice in queer art. For the show, I decided to collaborate with four prison survivors and members of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. I asked each person three questions: How did you survive prison? What do you need to survive now that you are out? And what does a world without mass incarceration look like?

Based on the wise words of my interviewees, I created hand-painted protest signs that will be displayed in the gallery along with the edited audio of the interviews. The piece is titled, “It is our duty to fight / It is our duty to win / We must love each other and protect each other / We have nothing to loose but our chains” (based on the Assata Shakur chant).

I was interviewed by Amy Cancelmo, the show’s curator, about my art practice and organizing with CCWP, about queer activism and it’s relationship to prison abolition. Before the show opens Saturday, June 8th, you can read the interview here:

It Is Our Duty to Fight: A Curator’s Interview with Adrienne Skye Roberts


Strange Bedfellows: Collaborative Practice in Queer Art at Root Divison

Presented as part of National Queer Arts Festival 2013
Curated by: Amy Cancelmo

Second Saturday Reception: Saturday, June 8, 7-10 pm
Exhibition Dates: June 5-29, 2013
Gallery Hours: Wednesdays-Saturdays, 2-6 pm

Wednesday, June 19, 7-9 pm
Featuring: EG Crichton & Barbara McBane, Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens, Tina Takemoto, Chris Vargas & Greg Youmans
Moderated by: Amy Cancelmo

Strange Bedfellows is a visual art exhibition exploring collaborative practice in queer art. Featuring the work of over twenty contemporary queer artists alongside ephemera loaned from the San Francisco GLBT Historical Society Archive, the show presents diverse strategies for collaboration and considers multiple authorship as a radical concept.

Strange Bedfellows is a nationally traveling exhibition with accompanying catalogue, and is a fiscally sponsored project of the Queer Cultural Center. The exhibition will debut in San Francisco at Root Division in June 2013 as part of the National Queer Arts Festival, and then travel to the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University in Lewisburg Pennsylvania in Fall of 2013. It will next be presented in Chicago for the College Art Association Conference in February of 2014 as the sponsored exhibition of the Queer Caucus for the Arts. Additional funders for the project include Endeavor Foundation for the Arts & Rainbow Grocery.

Participating Artists:

Bren Ahearn, Greg Der Ananian & Jesse M. Kahn, Jordan Arsenault & POSTER VIRUS, E.G. Crichton, Barbara McBane & Susan Working, Sean Fader, Alex Hernandez* with Rude House, Sarah Hirneisen, Amos Mac & Julianna Huxtable LaDosha, Tara Mateik, billy ocallaghan, Adrienne Skye Roberts, Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens with Luke Wilson, Julie Sutherland, Tina Takemoto & Angela Ellsworth, Chris Vargas & Greg Youmans, Angie Wilson & Amber Straus

*Root Division Studio Artist

Bring Our Loved Ones Home: End Overcrowding in California’s Women Prisons

This video features three incredible members of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Misty Rojo, Samantha Rogers and Thao Nguyen telling the stories of people whose lives were taken by the system and those still struggling to survive inhumane conditions and inadequate medical care.

This video was made in effort to send a message to Jerry Brown about the state of overcrowding in the California prison system, as he continues to deny the problem and avoid the federal court’s demand that he reduce prison population immediately.

I owe everything to being queer: An interview with Tirza True Latimer

ImageTirza True Latimer is the chair of the Visual and Critical Studies Department at the California College of the Arts (CCA). She is a feminist art historian, a lesbian, a general mover and shaker and a huge mentor of mine. I was Tirza’s student during my time at CCA in 2007 – 2009 and am indebted to her generosity, tender heartedness and fierce intellect. She modeled for me and all her students what it means to not only teach about feminism but to create a learning environment that is embedded within feminist politics and spirit.

After a few years of my own undergraduate teaching experiences, I was eager to talk with Tirza about feminist teaching. We met at a cafe in Berkeley with this subject in mind and after discussing her coming of age during anti-war movement of the 1960s, her refusal of mainstream, heterosexual culture, her participation the queer, collective culture of the 1970s and transition from working construction to teaching art history, our conversation eventually found its way to the feminist classroom.

Somehow I manage to corral this conversation into a readable interview! And I am so pleased that it was recently published on the literary site, The Rumpus. You can read the full interview here to see what I mean about this incredible woman and teacher.

Chowchilla Freedom Rally draws 400 protesters and all local media

The Chowchilla Freedom Rally drew over 400 people from throughout the state and caught the attention of all local media and many independent media sources. Below is an 8 minute video of the day created by the Freedom Archives and links to the articles, videos and op-eds.

Windy Click and Leslie Mendoza on Evening News, KPFA (min 28) 1/28/13

Officials insist inmates’ needs are being met at Central California Women’s Facility, Merced Sun-Star 1/29/13

Inside the women’s prison in Chowchilla, CBS 1/28/13

Protest against prison overcrowding draws hundreds, KSBY 1/27/13

Manifestación de la Libertad, Univision 1/27/13

VIDEO: Hundreds of prison protestors rally outside of Chowchilla, Merced Sun-Star 1/26/13

Thousands Rally Against Prison Overcrowding, KSEE 1/26/13

Protest Against Overcrowding Held Outside Philadelphia Women’s Prison, CBS 1/26/13

Protest against prison overcrowding draws hundreds, The Tribune 1/26/13

Group to Protest Outside Jail Saturday, Redwood City Patch 1/26/13

Op-Ed: Angela Davis/Windy Click: Rallying to end women’s prison crisis in California, Fresno Bee 1/25/13

Chowchilla Freedom Rally to draw hundreds of Bay Area residents to Central Valley to protest women’s prison, SF Bay View 1/24/13

Groups set to protest crowding at Chowchilla women’s prison, Merced Sun-Star 1/24/13

Crowding More Into Chowchilla Prisons, Prison Radio 1/16/13

Chowchilla Freedom Rally, Rise Up and Join Together

The Chowchilla Freedom Rally is 5 days away and many of us throughout the state of California are getting ready for what will undoubtedly be an empowering and impactful day. We can’t wait to be there with all of you to raise our voices loud enough to let our loved ones inside know they are not alone. Let’s make enough noise so that the decision makers in Sacramento have no choice but to hear our demands!

We are so inspired by the energy building around this rally. On Saturday in Oakland, we packed The Hold Out’s community room raising awareness (and money) about the injustices occurring in Chowchilla. The Youth Justice Coalition in Los Angeles is busy getting people to board the bus to Chowchilla or fund a seat.

Across the country in Pennsylvania, Mumia Abu-Jamal recently shamed California’s Department of Corrections for the inhumane and unconstitutional overcrowding in Chowchilla’s prisons during his Prison Radio broadcast from State Correctional Institute Mahanoy. And in a beautiful act of international solidarity, the Global Women’s Strike in London is planning a protest and speak-out in front of Holloway Prison on January 26th in support of the Chowchilla Freedom Rally and prisoners locked up in the UK’s women’s prisons.

If you haven’t yet, now is the time to sign up for a ride. We will send out information for the day-of shortly including a safety plan, directions and contact information. Thanks so much everyone and we will see you Saturday!

Chowchilla Freedom Rally, I am free today

We are 3 weeks away from our statewide mobilization to Chowchilla to protest the unconstitutional overcrowding in California’s women prisons and show our support for our loved ones inside who are struggling to survive as the conditions worsen. As a result of the conversion of Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW), one of the remaining women’s prisons has now reached 179% capacity. A woman recently transferred to CCWF informed us that they were given clothes and bedding that “you wouldn’t want even your dog sleeping on.” Another person confirmed, “Everything we rely on to survive, including medical and legal, is highly impacted by overcrowding. Overcrowding is the issue. It causes everything else to come crashing down like dominoes.”

We need your help to show the U.S. Supreme Court, the government, and prison officials that not only are we witnessing this discrimination and abuse but we will not be silent! Join us in demanding an end to overcrowding! Our loved one’s deserve humane living conditions and their freedom! Bring them home!