Truth to Power 5

T2P5 postcard back“Truth to Power” is a juried show open to NC artists that focuses on matters of social justice. This year marks the fifth installation of this powerful and thought-provoking exhibit hosted by Pleiades Arts, Inc.

Formerly Pleiades Gallery, this arts resource in downtown Durham recently incorporated as a non-profit, Pleiades Arts, Inc., to better expand upon its community outreach, arts education and innovation, and social justice initiatives.

The exhibit title, derived from a 1955 Quaker pamphlet “Speak Truth to Power,” illustrates a commitment to voicing our diverse truths to the systems and individuals who shape the society in which we live.  Visual art has been utilized as a vehicle for social and political commentary throughout history, and continues to communicate a wide array of ideals, opinions and criticisms from a spectrum of voices.

Artwork selected for the exhibit reflects timely national, global, local, and personal issues such as our national political divide; the First Amendment; police brutality; “faux news;” global warming; gentrification; sexual identity and exploitation; and fighting oppression of marginalized communities. The works reflect a mix of powerlessness and protest.

Juror Statement, by Pedro Lasch:

The issue of power in this juried exhibition is seen through an intentionally broad set of angles, media, and political viewpoints. Some of the artworks speak truth to power in direct ways, through strong statements or overt political positions. Others make space for poetic confrontations, obscure or idiosyncratic references, and the expressive manifestations of materials and objects. Most importantly, the idea of speech through art has put an extra focus on works with a clear artistic voice. The artists in this show come from a very diverse set of backgrounds. While their individual voices show very different characters and sensibilities, we believe they all have something important to say, and have found powerful ways of saying it.


Friday, July 21st there will be an Opening Reception and Artists’ Talk from 6-9 pm. Also on the 21st from 6-9 pm, Kai Soulfire, a poet, songwriter, and educator, will host an open mic event across the street from Pleiades Arts at Five Points Plaza for anyone who wants to speak/dance/sing/drum their Truth to Power.

In conjunction with the Truth to Power exhibit, Dasan Ahanu, E.A. Holton, and members of the Bull City Slam team will present a night of poetry and spoken word at Pleiades on Thursday, July 28th from 8-10 pm. Books of poetry by the artists will be available for sale.


The juror for Truth to Power 5 is Pedro Lasch, Associate Research Professor in the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies, Duke University. Pedro Lasch was born and raised in Mexico City. He divides his time between North Carolina, where he teaches art, art theory, and visual studies at Duke University since 2002, and New York, where he leads on-going projects with immigrant communities and art collectives, such as 16 Beaver Group since 1999.

His solo exhibitions and projects include Open Routines (Queens Museum of Art, 2006), Black Mirror (Nasher Museum of Art, 2008), and Abstract Nationalism & National Abstraction (The Phillips Collection, 2014); he has also participated in group exhibitions at MoMA PS1, MASS MoCA, Walker Art Center, CAC New Orleans; Royal College of Art, Hayward Gallery, Baltic (U.K.); Centro Nacional de las Artes, MUAC (Mexico); the Gwangju Biennial (South Korea), the 12th Havana Biennial (Cuba), and Documenta 13 (AND AND AND), among many others.

The author of two books, his art and writings have also appeared in numerous catalogues and edited collections, as well as journals across disciplines like October Magazine, Saber Ver, Art Forum, ARTnews, Cultural Studies, and Rethinking Marxism, and international news like The New York Times, The Philadelphia Weekly, El Universal, and La Jornada.


Pleiades Gallery was founded by local artists in April 2013 with outstanding contemporary art offerings across a range of media. In June, 2017 the business incorporated as a non-profit organization to better fulfill its mission of community outreach, arts education and innovation, and social justice programming. Pleiades Arts is located in the Five Points area of downtown Durham at 109 East Chapel Hill Street. All Pleiades Arts events are free and open to the public.