KIRKLAND GALLERY is located at 40 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Please note that the entrance is on Sumner Road and you will need a Harvard Graduate School of Design ID to enter the building. If you would like to visit the gallery and are not a GSD student, please contact us at




Vessels that once bore witness to the struggle of this life, that once had a name, a purpose. Vessels that are abstractions of the black and brown body, portraits of souls and represent those who have gone before us in death. Vessels that incite us to rethink our reasons for living and call upon us to engage with the narratives of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Michael Brown and our other sacrificed women and men with a new ceremony.Yet vessels that are full of life, waiting to conceive space and conversation, culture and identity, and reconciliation and joy.

These objects are derived from a traditional Nigerian drum called the 'Udu'. It is commonly a musical instrument played by hand and used to carry water. This simple instrument reflects the double consciousness that many blacks have had to endure.

How do we begin to fill the vessels of today? How do we give birth to new forms of honesty in the face of institutionalized hate and fear? Too many men and women of color are being killed on the streets. Where do we turn to release our pain, to start a dialogue, and act in transformative resolution?

HUMAN is a provocation to acknowledge the black and brown condition as a spatial, physical, contextual, and a visceral experience. Begin your own journey by entering this room.  Acknowledge this space and time as sacred. Do not run. Do not hide. Because the black and brown body cannot.


HUMAN is not only a ceremony of abstractions and societal identifiers, it is the conduit to the physical constructs of the black and brown body. It’s here as a conversation of this dichotomy. We begin this next phase of HUMAN in order to recognize this very notion. We have created a space for open dialogue for you to embrace all that HUMAN has to offer. We challenge you to remember. We encourage you to understand. We invite you to participate in the narrative of:

Alton Sterling • Michael Brown • Eric Garner. • Sean Bell. • Manuel Loggins Jr.  • Tamir Rice • Freddie Gray • Christian Taylor  • Ezell Ford  • Jamar Clark • Laquan McDonald • Walter Scott

… victims and active participants in violence. We seek to take their narrative without judgement but as humans. What can bring us together. What can change our futures.

Rose Florian & Kordae Henry