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Titus Kaphar on Art, Race and Justice

The painter Titus Kaphar made his name as a portraitist of criminal justice with his 2014 show at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the “Jerome Project.” Kaphar had been researching the prison records of his estranged father, Jerome, and discovered scores of other imprisoned men who shared his father’s name. Working from mugshots, he painted small oil portraits of the Jeromes, their faces haloed by Byzantine gold leaf and partially submerged in tar -- evoking the disproportionate representation of black men among America’s incarcerated.

His most recent work continues to explore the confluence of race, punishment and protest. He provided a selection of new work, and spoke with The Marshall Project’s Bill Keller. The interview has been edited for length and clarity...

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