Tomashi Jackson’s Many Shades of Voter Suppression
Tomashi Jackson, Is Anybody Gonna Be Saved? (1948 Middle of Voter Registration Line) (1965 Abernathy and King Watch the Signing of the Act), 2020. Image courtesy of the artist and the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Tomashi Jackson's exhibition Love Rollercoaster features five multimedia paintings and an audio work that delve into themes relevant to today's political landscape: issues of voter suppression and the disenfranchisement of Black voters. Natalie Haddad's piece for Frieze reviews Jackson's show and explores the ways in which the artist's multilayered artwork reflect the complex history of voting in the United States. Taking its name from the eponymous 1975 hit by funk band the Ohio Players, the exhibition focuses on the history of Black voters in Ohio, layering images of election ephemera and archival reproductions with transparent acrylic overlays. Love Rollercoaster reminds audiences of the long struggle and fight for the right to vote and what is at stake when such rights are threatened.
Jackson’s interwoven narratives redefine her archival material as a living history of racial injustice in America and the legacies of individuals who have fought against it. Across one work is emblazoned the question: ‘Do you want to vote?’ - Natalie Haddad