RCAH LookOut Gallery

Image shows a black and white photograph of a Black man standing with his back to the camera, holding a pack of cigarettes in one hand. 

10th Annual Perspectives in African-American Experience: Emerging Visions Residency and Exhibition

Featuring artist Michael Darough

The Talk

Photographs remembering Black lives lost to police violence and exploring cycles of criminalization and mass incarceration in the U.S.


Opening Reception:

2021 Social Justice Art Festival LIVE Opening Ceremony with Keynote talk by Michael Darough.

Monday, January 18, 2021, 3 p.m. EST:

Open to the public. Link: https://msu.zoom.us/j/95388157398 Password: SJAF2021

Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant (CIEG), Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, Social Justice Art Festival

10th Annual Perspectives in African-American Experience: Emerging Visions Exhibition & Teaching Residency

Darough will be an artist in (digital) residence with RCAH from January 18 to February 26, during which time he will be a featured artist and guest juror of the MSU Social Justice Art Festival (January 18-21) and run a workshop in Guillermo Delgado’s class, “The Prison Poetry & ‘Zine Project.”

Keynote talk will be held on Monday, January 18 (MLK Jr. Day), 3:00 p.m. as the Social Justice Art Festival Opening ceremony

Exhibition Description:

In Michael Darough’s ongoing series “The Talk,” faceless men, viewed from behind, represent the stories of Black people murdered by police in the United States. Darough models for the photographs himself, inserting himself into each fatal scenario and shaping his own body into a memorial for each lost life. Distilling each story down to one pose and one prop, Darough highlights common denominators linking stories that might otherwise seem disparate, but which are structurally linked by systems of white supremacy, racial profiling, police violence, and cycles of criminalization and mass incarceration. Darough’s series bears witness to the numbing regularity with which high-profile stories emerge in the news of Black people victimized by US policing practices, while also — through a series of “Unknown Portraits” — honoring the countless other stories that struggle to be told or do not receive news coverage. 

Perspectives in African-American Experience: Emerging Visions is an annual paid residency for emerging and mid-career artists whose work reflects on Black, African-American, or African diasporic experience past or present and explores art as social activism. The opportunity includes a solo exhibition in the LookOut Art Gallery, traditionally opening on MLK Jr. Day, and an accompanying teaching residency including artist’s talk, class visits, workshops, and student and community engagement in the Residential College in the Arts & Humanities at Michigan State University.

Our 10th Annual Emerging Visions artist-in-residence for 2021 is Michael Darough, an artist and educator living in St. Louis, MO. Darough will be in residence with RCAH from January 18 to February 26, during which time he will also be a featured artist and guest juror of the MSU Social Justice Art Festival (January 18-21, https://sjaf.msu.edu). Due to COVID-19, the 10th Annual Emerging Visions exhibition and residency are being held online.

Image shows a Black man with a somber and thoughtful expression as he gazes at the viewer.


Michael Darough graduated from the University of Memphis, earning an MFA in photography in 2011 and his BFA in photography from Arizona State University in 2007. His work explores the intersection of personal and cultural identity through tableau and portraiture. Darough received a Fulbright seminar grant addressing diversity in German education, which was hosted by the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  He is a nationally exhibiting artist whose work has recently been shown at the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado.  He is a Silver Eye Fellowship 20 recipient and a 2020 finalist for the Arnold Newman Prize For New Directions in Photographic Portraiture.  Currently, Darough is a practicing artist and educator working in St. Louis, Missouri.


A view of a gallery with white walls displaying black and white photos of the civil rights era Tama Hamilton-Wray, a woman of color and professor, stands in a suit speaking in front of an audience in the LookOu! Art Gallery Zines hang from the ceiling on strings as part of an exhibit.


RCAH LookOut Gallery

Virtual Exhibit Space
Social Media



Director of Exhibition Spaces
Tessa Paneth-Pollak, Ph.D.

LookOut Preparator
Steven Baibak



(Physical space closed during COVID-19 until further notice)
Residential College in the Arts and Humanities
Snyder-Phillips Hall, Second Floor
362 Bogue Street
East Lansing, Michigan 48825