Shirley Fiterman Art Center Presents Exhibitions by Gaku Tsutaja and Sherrill Roland

August 8, 2019

Two exhibitions are set to open simultaneously with a reception on Tuesday, September 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Shirley Fiterman Art Center (SFAC) at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY). The exhibitions will run through November 2.

A Trip to the Moon will feature the work of Gaku Tsutaja in the SFAC North Gallery. Inertia will feature the work of Sherrill Roland in the South Gallery.

As a part of Roland’s Inertia, he will present The Jumpsuit Project, a social practice (performance) piece which engages visitors in conversations about incarceration, and generates safe spaces to process, question and discuss aspects of justice involvement.

These performances, which are open to the public, will take place on September 10 from 3 to 4 p.m. and on October 2 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Artists represent different types of trauma

“These two exhibitions showcase artists whose works are formally distinct but represent different types of trauma,” said SFAC Director Lisa Panzera. “Gaku Tsutaja presents her personal connection to the cultural and historical trauma resulting from the bombing of Japan in World War II. Sherrill Roland examines the impact of incarceration on individuals, and looks at his own experience of having been wrongfully incarcerated.”

In A Trip to the Moon, she explains, Tsutaja creates fictional narratives based on historical events, and in the process, reveals issues of race, ideology, ethnicity, class and politics.

“Using various media — paper, video and sculptural installations — Tsutaja presents allegories that mediate between versions of historical narratives,” Panzera says. “Through surrealistic tales that feature animals and human-animal hybrid protagonists, she highlights the atomic bomb used in World War II, Japanese-American internment camps, Japan’s creation of post-war infrastructure and the potentially catastrophic use of nuclear energy.”

Inertia, featuring work by Sherrill Roland, looks at social and political issues surrounding incarceration, through the lens of Roland’s own experience with the justice system.

“Falsely accused and convicted of a crime, Roland served ten months at the Central Detention Facility in Washington, D.C.,” Panzera says. “Although he was eventually exonerated, the experience changed him profoundly and led him to re-think his
relationship to making art.”

Out of that experience, she says, Roland developed The Jumpsuit Project,  “an ongoing social practice work in which he engages visitors in conversationsabout incarceration, generating safe spaces to process, question and discuss aspects of justice involvement.”

International and national recognition

Gaku Tsutaja, who earned an MFA from SUNY Purchase in 2018, lives in Queens, New York. Born in Tokyo, she holds a BFA with honors from Tokyo Zokei University of Art and Design, and was a research fellow at the Center for Contemporary Art Kitakyusyu. Her work has been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally.

Sherrill Roland, who was born in Asheville, North Carolina, received both his BFA in Design, and MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has presented TheJumpsuit Projectat Georgetown University, the University of Michigan Law School, Princeton University and other institutions.

Recently, Roland was awarded the Post-MFA Fellowship in the Documentary Arts at the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University. His work has been featured widely at venues including ARTSpace Raleigh; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; LACE: Los Angeles, and the Studio Museum of Harlem.

The Shirley Fiterman Art Center, 81 Barclay Street in Tribeca, is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m. For more information, contact or (212) 776-6237.

Image Credits


Gaku Tsutaja,The Main Gate, 2018, Sumi ink on paper, 11 x 15 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Ulterior Gallery, NY.

Images embedded in article, top to bottom:

Sherrill Roland, After the Wake Up, installation at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2018

Sherrill Roland, The Jumpsuit Project, performance at the Brooklyn Public Library, 2017

Gaku Tsutaja, The Hope Inspection Team, 2017, Indian ink and acrylic on paper, 22 x 30 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Ulterior Gallery, NY.

Gaku Tsutaja, The Long Game, 2019, Sumi ink, gesso, canvas, 47 x 63 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Ulterior Gallery, NY.



  • Exhibition opening reception on Tuesday, September 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Shirley Fiterman Art Center (SFAC)
  • A Trip to the Moon features the work of Gaku Tsutaja and Inertia features the work of Sherrill Roland
  • Sherrill Rowland interactive performance previews Tuesday, September 10 from 3 to 4 p.m.

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