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Come walk in my shoes

Deborah Roberts’s first solo exhibition in New Mexico, Come walk in my shoes, is on view at SITE Santa Fe through November 6. The artist’s figurative collages and paintings combine found images with hand-painted details to illustrate the varied experiences of Black boys in the United States. With the intention of creating and holding space for the full personhood of her subjects, Roberts aims to present complex, multi-dimensional, and layered images of childhood, prominently featuring an innocence, vulnerability, and curiosity often denied to Black youth. 

Deborah’s work wrestles with stereotypes attached to Black children from an early age and reveals how systemic racism and adultification shape the way they grow up and experience childhood.

Brandee Caoba, SITE Santa Fe Curator

Come walk in my shoes showcases 15 large-scale figurative collage works (2018–2022) accompanied by “trumpet of consciousness” from Roberts’s 2019 sculpture series. Made of wood, a metal car jack, and stacked books, “trumpet of consciousness” alludes to a 1960s lecture by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Roberts’s art will extend beyond the gallery walls to occupy SITE Santa Fe’s public art initiative, the Billboard Project. Work located on the western exterior of the building expands the exhibition’s conversation on how Black children navigate their Blackness and childhood. These pieces are intended to question stereotypes and create room for a more nuanced, empathetic understanding of the experience of Black children in America.

Allowing her subjects to occupy space, explore, and be seen, Roberts hopes to offer a powerful critique of systemic injustices, society’s expectations, and the many biases that continue to impact Black lives in the United States. 

Come walk in my shoes is curated by Brandee Caoba and organized by Jakia Fuller, Max Holmes, and SITE Santa Fe.

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