November 14, 2022 - February 18, 2023

  • Reception: Thursday, November 17, 5:30 pm, curator's Talk by Patrick Earl Hammie at 6:15, and music by participating artist and DJ, Stacey Robinson 
  • William Downs Artist Talk: Thursday, November 10 at 6 pm, Krannert Art Museum (Lower Level Auditorium)
  • Patrick Earl Hammie Artist Talk: Wednesday, November 30, at 1:15 pm, William M. Staerkel Planetarium. This lecture is available online and in-person. To register for the online viewing, please visit: Patrick Earl Hammie virtual presentation If attending in person, no registration necessary.
  • Kumasi J. Barnett Online Artist Talk: Thursday, January 26, at 6:00 pm. View lecture here. 
  • Stacey Robinson Artist Talk: Thursday, February 2, at 10:45 am in the William M. Staerkel Planetarium

Curated by UIUC Associate Professor & Chair of Studio Arts Patrick Earl Hammie, "In Blackest Shade, In Darkest Light" features seven nationally recognized artists, including Hammie. 

The exhibition includes drawings in various media and include works on paper, installation, video, and mixed media. 

Included in the exhibition are artists and faculty across the U.S., including Kumasi J. Barnett, residing in Baltimore, MD; William Downs, residing in Atlanta, GA; Kenyatta Forbes, residing in Chicago, IL; Patrick Earl Hammie, residing in Champaign, IL; Robert Pruitt, residing in New York, NY; Stacey Robinson, residing in Champaign, IL; and Charles Edward Williams, residing in Georgetown, SC. 

On curating the show, Hammie explains, "This exhibition centers around drawing as a technology from which artists speculate, recover and collect communal histories, manifesting stories of desired futures from the margins of imagination into the realities of the everyday. Drawing serves as an instant gateway for dreaming, recording, and sharing ideas. It moved from a mainly private practice to a form that asks questions as equally bold as other media. The show's title takes inspiration from DC's Green Lantern Corps' oath, 'In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might, beware my power, Green Lantern's light,' from which members of the fictional space guardians access magical strength and gather the will to challenge adversaries using their imagination."

Hammie elaborates: "The artists in this exhibition revel in horror, Afro-futurism, magical realism, Ethno-gothic, fantasy, Black Quantum Futurism, utopias and dystopias, and superheroes. They draw from cultural aesthetics and philosophies of science and history to explore and improvise within set boundaries and beyond. Their work speculates toward un-fixing the physical, political, and social knowns and imagine otherwise how we will be and become." 

The exhibition will feature a temporary installation drawing by William Downs on two walls in the Giertz Gallery. In addition, a lecture by William Downs, sponsored by the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, will be held at Krannert Art Museum on November 10 at 6 pm in the lower level auditorium. 

This lecture is co-sponsored by the School of Art & Design Visitors Committee; Frances P. Rohlen Visiting Artists Fund, College of Fine & Applied Arts; Unit One/ Allen Hall; and Giertz Gallery at Parkland College.

Participating artist, Kumasi J. Barnett will be giving an online lecture on Thursday, January 26, at 6 pm. Register Here to receive the Zoom link. 

Barnett is influenced by the aesthetics and narratives of comic books. His work subverts and imbues the often-timeless genre with a present-day social consciousness. Riffing on classic superhero series including The Amazing Spider-ManThe Incredible  HulkSupermanDaredevil, and Captain America, the work included in this exhibition are from a series that includes 100 hand-painted comic book works pinned up in their clear plastic sleeves. 

Barnett's lecture is co-sponsored by Giertz Gallery at Parkland College, Black on Black on Black on Black Lecture Series and Krannert Art Museum, School of Art & Design, College of Fine & Applied Arts.

Concurrent with "In Blackest Shade, In Darkest Light" exhibition, Krannert Art Museum is hosting an exhibition featuring Black faculty in the School of Art & Design. This exhibition includes participating artists Patrick Hammie and Stacey Robinson. The collaborative exhibition explores Black identity, collectivity, positionality, healing, innovation, and education as explored via a multi-leveled/multi-dimensional immersive, critical, and openly reflective space. For more information, please visit the Krannert Art Museum website.

Participating artist, Stacey Robinson will give a lecture on February 2, at 10:45 am in the William M. Staerkel Planetarium. A "Chat & Chill" with the artist will be held at 12 pm, in the gallery. 

Robinson is one of seven artists participating in "In Blackest Shade, In Darkest Light," In addition to a full-length video, Robinson's work includes three large digital drawings that are 70 x 44 inches each. The images are inspired by the artist's vinyl record collection and difficult-to-find additions that elude him during research to connect golden-age hip-hop samples to their source material. His collection ultimately fuels the series that incorporates animation and comic book illustrations ignited by the Black cultural wealth of hip-hop. He explains his process "as a collage culture of various influences that tether the past to the speculative future through the Ghanaian concept of Sankofa, meaning to 'go back and get it.' We go back and retrieve Black pasts, bring them into the future with us as a means of defining our Black liberated futures."

Robinson was a 2019-2020 Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellow at Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. After completing his Masters of Fine Art at the University at Buffalo in 2015, the artist has traveled internationally, discussing the complexities of decolonized future spaces. As one half of the collaborative team "Black Kirby" with artist John Jennings, Stacey creates graphic novels, gallery exhibitions, lectures, and workshops that use world-building strategies to imagine new worlds inspired by design, hip-hop, the arts and sciences, and diasporic African belief systems. 

Robinson's latest graphic novels are I Am Alfonso Jones, written by Tony Medina (2017), available from Lee & Low Books, and Across the Tracks: Remembering GreenwoodBlack Wall Street, and Tulsa Race Massacre, written by Alverne Ball (2021), available from Abrams Books. Recent exhibitions include Ascension of Black Stillness (CEPA Gallery in Buffalo, NY) and The Black Angel of History (Carnegie Hall's 'Afrofuturism Festival) in 2022.  


Gallery hours are Monday through Wednesday, 10 am to 5 pm, Thursday, 10 am to 7 pm, and Saturday, 12 pm  to 2 pm.

To find the gallery, we suggest using the M6 parking lot on the north corner of campus. Enter through door X-7, turn left, and follow the ramps uphill to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area. Face coverings are recommended.

All events in the accessible gallery are free and open to the public. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution. For accommodation, call 217/353-2338 or email

Giertz Gallery acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. All events in the accessible gallery are free and open to the public. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution. For accommodation, call 217/353-2337 or email


Image: Quantum Conjuring, charcoal, conte pastel on paper, 30 x 22 inches, 2022, courtesy of Mike Rea