bill berry's talk at an art gallery in Syracuse, NY.

Many of you know that my collection of racist Black memorabilia has been exhibited [and will continue until March 19th] at the ArtRage Gallery in Syracuse, New York. 

On Thursday, March 10th, I had the opportunity to deliver a gallery talk.  Focused to be somewhat of a non-traditional discussion, the evening opened with a video by Ellen Ballock, an artist and videographer with  Blalock’s March 2015 visual piece primarily documented my diverse collection of Black dolls, as well as some of the objects that stimulated ArtRage’s interest to mounting an exhibition of racist objects that were ordinary household objects in American homes and part of the dominant culture especially in the 20th century.  

I opened my talk with a reflective creative non-fiction prose poetry piece supplemented by an historical analysis of events that enhanced and fueled the racist thinking that eventually led to dehumanizing me through racist inspired ordinary household and commercial products. And helped to create an ongoing generational sense of white privilege that led to deeply embedded institutional racism. 

I also shared with the audience other objects and artwork that were not part of the exhibition, a few items which had been donated to my care after media announcement of the exhibition or after an individual viewed firsthand the exhibition’s racial complexities and disturbing images.  More importantly, there was a free exchange of thoughts and ideas from all participants that stimulated analyses of personal backgrounds and the intricacies of modern day racism and its earlier societal manifestations.

Purposely devoid of sound, this photo montage (below) will give you a brief sense of the gallery talk experience.  You then can imagine and envision the dynamics associated with this talk and the dialogues that were exchanged during and after this event, which prompted reflection, analysis, and thoughtful contemplation.


Rose Viviano, director (right) and Kimberley McCoy
I appreciate the graciousness and creative direction of ArtRage’s director, Rose Viviano and her associate, Kimberley McCoy who made this exhibition possible.  Their sensitivity to the subject matter and programming of complementary events during the BLACKOUT exhibition expanded the knowledge and understanding of racial matters for gallery visitors, the Syracuse community and the larger upstate region.  I am indebted to them as they continue to broaden the community’s awareness of social justice issues while providing a safe haven for the discussion and exchange of those ideas that tend to separate and polarize us.  It is through such conversations fueled by exhibitions that we can better identify those attributes that tend to provide the common table for a diverse, pluralistic, and respectful community.    

Stay creative, 


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  1. Historical and thought provoking collection. I truly appreciate Mr. Berry. Peace.

  2. Very nice Mr. Bill. Thanks for expressing what many of us feel but cannot express as eloquently.


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