HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Thursday through Saturday, Tracy Keza’s nationally recognized portrait series and senior thesis, “Hijabs & Hoodies,” will be on display at Trinity College’s Broad Street Gallery in Hartford.
A senior at Trinity College from Kigala, Rwanda, Tracy Keza began taking portraits of Hartford residents in 2015, in an effort to unravel racial and religious profiling.
Keza says she was galvanized by the many cases of police brutality against young black men in the United States between 2014 and 2015, and their depiction across media. She tells the Courant, “Images were just being made and shared online in a way that I felt wasn’t productive.” What’s more, she says she was “frustrated that the field [she] wanted to go into was part of the problem of circulating a lot of these images.”
“Hijabs & Hoodies” aims to reclaim and subvert the depiction of and narrative surrounding people of color, specifically the ways in which “clothing can be perceived as a threat.”
The Courant explains that the project began as an “on-campus demonstration.” Keza tells the Courant, “I took portraits of my friends, who were either black or Muslim or both, and I projected them onto the side of the chapel at Trinity College at night.”
Keza discussed her work at the Yale University Art Gallery in March, and her photos were featured at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. in 2016.
Keza will attend the opening reception at Trinity’s Broad Street Gallery on Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Her 11-image black-and-white series can also seen Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
She says, “I want to humanize people who otherwise have been impacted by a broken system that continues to disenfranchise and disembody black and brown people and people from marginalized communities.”