ArtPrize entry draws attention to issues of race

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An ArtPrize 10 entry that is stirring up a conversation about racial inequality didn't make into last year's competition because the venue was worried it may be too controversial, the artist said.

The digital artwork shows three lasers pointing at the face of a young boy of color.

"The laser beams just represent us being targets, or disenfranchised groups being targets, in a sense, through society,” artist Joshua Solas explained.

Solas said didn't want to water it down, so he waited to enter it this year to enter his piece, "You're Joking Right?" It can now be found at Muse GR, a new art gallery on Leonard Street NW that's on the Shortlist to win a juried award for outstanding venue.

The entry also includes an image of uncomfortable laughter, which Solas said marginalized groups like people of color use to cope with the world.

“That very concept of laughing at one’s own demise is what I was trying to get at,” he said.

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