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  • "Public Enemy:" Exhibition and Reception featuring Newark Artist Bleriot Thompson

"Public Enemy:" Exhibition and Reception featuring Newark Artist Bleriot Thompson

Date & Time

Tuesday, March 19, 2024, 3:00 p.m.-Friday, December 13, 2024, 5:00 p.m.




15 Washington Street Newark, NJ, 07102


Terri Kupersmit


Presented by the RU-N Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, in collaboration with Paul Robeson Galleries

Bleriot Thompson BANNER.png

We were proud to host the opening reception for our inaugural signature exhibition celebrating the work of Newark-based artist Bleriot Thompson and his series “Public Enemy,” on March 19 at Rutgers-Newark in collaboration with Paul Robeson Galleries.

Our opening reception featured Bleriot Thompson in a moving and powerful conversation about the inspiration behind his work and his hopes for its impact with Jamilah Malika Abu-Bakare, Instructor of Professional Practice in the Department of Africana Studies at Rutgers-Newark

Watch the conversation here: 


The artwork from Thompson’s “Public Enemy” series will be on display until December 13, 2024, at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice Newark office, located on the 2nd floor of Ruth Bader Ginsberg Hall at 15 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102 and is free and open to the public. Each piece has a QR code below it which viewers can scan to hear insight from the artist talking about about how he was inspired to create it, what it represents and what he hopes viewers will take away from it.

To make an appointment to view the exhibition, please contact Terri Kupersmit via email ( or telephone (973-353-2057). Website

Learn more about Bleriot here:

Scan the QR codes below to hear Bleriot talking about each piece of artwork in this exhibition:

"There is a Shield Over Us" (2023)
"There is a Shield Over Us" (2023) Painting on fabric, Courtesy of the artist

“Winson and Dovie Hudson have been committed community activists in rural
Mississippi for decades. On behalf of their children, they were the first black
plaintiffs to file a school desegregation suit against the state. They were also
instrumental in democratizing voter registration, establishing preschool centers,
and implementing nutrition programs. With dedication and stamina, they
served on boards dealing with the health, education, and welfare of their entire

“There is a shield over us, they cannot touch us.”

Bleriot M. Thompson

"Invisibility" (2023)
"Invisibility" (2023) Mixed media on fabric, Courtesy of the artist

 “The narrator is an unnamed black man who writes his story as a memoir of his
own life. He writes in the first person highlighting his individual experience as a
‘Black Man’ and the feelings he encounters in various situations. Racism
becomes the obstacle to his own individual identity. The narrator finds himself
battling different ideas of how ‘Blacks’ should behave in society with each new
setting he finds himself in.”

Bleriot M. Thompson

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.”

Ralph Ellison

"Sisters of the Revolution" (2023)
"Sisters of the Revolution" (2023) Mixed media on canvas, Courtesy of the artist

African American women played an important role and an influential role in
the black power movement. They held leadership roles in various black
nationalist organizations, including the Black Panther Party for self-defense,
and did so while they fought against the sexist ideologies of their male
comrades. The women of the black power movement brought attention to
issues dealing with gender identity, classism, racism, and sexism.

Bleriot M. Thompson

“We are rough! We are tough! We are the girls who don’t take no stuff!”

Elaine Brown, A Taste of Power

"All Blood is Red" (2022)
"All Blood Is Red" (2022) Paint on fabric, Courtesy of the artist

“In the 70’s, Saar emerged as part of the Black Arts Movement and remains
best known for her collage and assemblage works that challenge racial
stereotypes and femininity. Saar started her adult life as a social worker and
then later pursued her passion in art. Originally working towards a career in
teaching design. However, a printmaking class she took as an elective
changed the direction of her artistic interests. She notes that printmaking was
her "segue from design into fine arts." Internationally acclaimed, she has
received multiple lifetime achievement awards.”

“All blood is red…”

Bleriot M. Thompson

"1968" (2022)
"1968" (2022) Mixed media on unstretched canvas, Courtesy of the artist

“On October 16th in 1968, documentary photographer John Dominis captured
what would be known as the ‘Silent Gesture’. The image of the three athletes
on the Olympic platform, heads bowed with Tommie Smith and John Carlos
giving the black power salute is regarded as one of the most powerful images
of the 20th century. The 1968 Olympics in Mexico City was full of tension as
well as talent. In America there were talks of a potential Olympic boycott by
The Olympic Project for Human Rights. The Olympic Project for Human Rights
or (OPHR) was primarily made up of African American athletes. When the
boycott failed to come together some athletes decided to wear OPHR badges
when they would receive their medals as way of protest. However, no one
could predict what was on the horizon. The two American athletes were
expelled from the games for their racial protest and all three athletes were
ostracized by the sporting community as well as their country. It is still one of
the greatest 200-meter Olympic performances to date. Tommie Smith, John
Carlos, and Peter Norman are public enemies.”

Bleriot M. Thompson

Bleriot Thompson Exhibition Didactic
Bleriot Thompson Reception FLYER FINAL

About the featured speakers:

Newark based painter Bleriot Thompson is a mixed media artist working primarily with paint to find where identity lies in the struggle for equality. Thompson studied at the University of William Paterson where he received his BFA in 2018.  His work looks to push the boundary between art, culture, and its preservation through documentation.? In 2018, Thompson was accepted into Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program, and in the following year 2019, Thompson was accepted into the Early Art Practitioners pilot program at the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York. Thompson has exhibited work at several galleries and institutions some of the noteworthy include Gallery Aferro, The Brooklyn Museum, The Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Ben Shaun University Galleries at William Paterson University. In the Fall of 2023, Thompson presented the first solo exhibition for his current series titled “Public Enemy” in his hometown of Newark, NJ at Gallery Aferro. In 2024, a portrait from this series was selected as a permanent outdoor installation for the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s Skating Rink. 


Jamilah Malika Abu-Bakare is an artist, writer and educator interested in exploring artistic practices that move us all towards freedom. Her work has played or shown from Sweden to LA and across Canada including Contemporary Field Gallery (Vancouver, BC) Circuit Gallery (Toronto, ON) and Espace Pop! (Montreal.) Her writing has appeared in Canadian Art magazine, CBC Arts Online, Active Cultures Digest and most recently in Lampblack Magazine. 

About "Public Enemy"

Public Enemy looks to push the boundary between art, culture, and its preservation through documentation. How does one actively battle the suppression of their own experience? Culture can only exist when a set of values comes to be acknowledged as sound and sacred by a group of people. The group can hold the meaning of those values with confidence and share different iterations with one another. The artist was inspired by the mediums that sought the most direct communication while having the ability to create authentic connections between friends, family, and strangers. All while moving with the understanding that we need to have compassion for an experience that we cannot fully grasp if we are truly seeking understanding.