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1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art

2023 Winner


Sherrill Roland

Sherrill Roland was born in Asheville, NC, received both his BFA in Design and MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Sherrill is an interdisciplinary artist and the founder of The Jumpsuit Project.

Roland has an interdisciplinary practice that deals with concepts of innocence, identity, and community; reimagining their social and political implications in the context of the American criminal justice system. For more than three years, his right to self-determination was lost to a wrongful incarceration. After spending ten months in prison for a crime that was later exonerated, Roland returned to his artistic practice, which he now uses as a vehicle for self-reflection and an outlet for emotional release. Converting the haunting nuances of his experiences into drawings, sculptures, multimedia objects, performances, and participatory activities, he continues to share his story creating spaces for others to do the same, illuminating the invisible costs, damages, and burdens of incarceration. Using a limited material list, only the materials he could touch while incarcerated, he looks towards these reflections of the material reality as an incarnated subject. From the tracing of cinderblock grout lines to the anxieties brought upon by contraband items or the heightened paramount of commissary goods, his practice invites the viewer into an altered reality, characterized by constriction and the passing of time.