The Atkinson Gallery at Santa Barbara City College will present an artist talk with alumnus Alberto Lule at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the SBCC Administration Building Lecture Hall Room 211.
Mr. Lule is the recipient of the LUM Art Prize (Issue 6), presented by LUM Art Magazine with the support of the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation.
Mr. Lule began making art while serving a 13-year sentence in a California prison. He uses readymades and mixed media installations to examine and critique mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex in the United States, particularly the California prison system.
Starting from his origins as a graffiti artist and writer, Mr. Lule draws on his own experiences in prison to create artworks that explore institutional roles of gatekeepers of knowledge, authorities of culture and administrators of discipline and punishment.
“Art made the prison walls disappear, allowing me to overcome not only the prison I was physically in but also the mental prison I had placed myself in before my sentence,” said Mr. Lule. “By focusing on how institutional systems operate, I have come to notice the similarities between all institutions, from institutions of higher learning to correctional institutions. These similarities can be exposed and learned from, not only from a scientific point of view, but even more thoroughly through art.”
Through his activist artworks, Mr. Lule brings awareness to the prison industrial complex, mass incarceration and ICE camps. After serving his prison sentence, he enrolled in SBCC Transitions, a program providing guidance and access to college for individuals released from the criminal justice system.
As a full-time student at SBCC, he excelled in his art classes and completed a prestigious internship with the SBCC Atkinson Gallery, sponsored by the SBCC Foundation. He graduated from SBCC in 2018 and was invited to be the student speaker at commencement. Mr. Lule transferred to UCLA, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and worked at the Hammer Museum. He is currently enrolled at UC Irvine, where he is earning a master of fine arts degree.