Past Exhibition

This group exhibition, inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr., is part of BIMA’s Untold Stories series this winter. Works focus on social justice and human rights, addressing diverse and connected issues.

Scroll down to explore photos and videos from this exhibition.

Curators’ Statement

We originally planned Breathe to coincide with the annual, formal honoring of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Although most remembered for Black civil rights activism from 1955 until his assassination in 1968, Dr. King taught us that he lived for all of humanity. His legacy forever projects the notion that, as stated in so many ways in 2020, we are all in this together.

Countless issues have come to the forefront, exposing layers of racial, cultural, and gender-based inequities and violence. The murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, COVID, political elections, climate change, and a grim global economy brought so much to a boiling point. Breathe expanded into a broad acknowledgement of, and response to, these national and global realities.

Diverse histories, narratives and experiences are revealed in the works of twenty-one artists, including Black slavery; the civil rights movement for Black Americans; the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II; injurious treatment of women and Jews; exposure of the vulnerable lives of undocumented refugees from Northern Central America commonly known as the “Caravan,” the loss of generations and cultures through massacre of Indigenous people . . . and we also see superheroes standing ready to intervene if we humans cannot solve our own self-created problems.

In calling out injustices, these artists also point us toward a world where we can all find space to heal and breathe. There is some progress to celebrate — the legalization of same-sex marriage, and examples of emerging or strengthening positive identities. There are various civil and judicial rights heroes to acknowledge, including Dr. King, John F. Kennedy, and recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Words and actions intersect in creating a positive future.

Many of the artists have shared their own words about their work in this show. Please take time, be present and immerse yourself in this artwork that aspires to lead us toward doing and being better.

Greg Robinson, Chief Curator

Amy Sawyer, Associate Curator

Featured artists:

  • Humaira Abid
  • Cory Bennett Anderson
  • Tia Blassingame
  • Cheri Gaulke and Sue Mayberry
  • Fred Hagstrom
  • Diane Jacobs
  • Eileen Jimenez
  • Michelle Kumata
  • Phillip Levine
  • Marilyn Montufar
  • Susan Point
  • John Risseeuw
  • George Rodriguez
  • Kathy Ross
  • Roger Shimomura
  • Julie Speidel
  • Tyler Starr
  • Beth Thielen
  • Carletta Carrington Wilson
  • Linda Wolf


Jan 8 – Jun 15, 2021


MESA & Lovelace Galleries


Curator's Conversation with Artist Carletta Carrington Wilson

Curator's Conversation with Photographer Linda Wolf

Karen Vargas takes us on a field trip to "Breathe" at BIMA

Explore "Breathe" and "Paul Rucker: FOREVER" in celebration of MLK, Jr. Day 2021

Curatorial Tour with Amy Sawyer