Looking Out is an exhibition encompasing several pieces centered around the relationships, stories, and expressions of an inmate, Thomas, currently serving a life sentence. The work aims to give a voice to Thomas and his family while connecting their stories with the wider issues of mass incarceration, racial injustice, and racial trauma.
The connection between Thomas and Elena did not begin with this project. They grew up together in a small African American community in the middle of a largely white, middle-class town. Thomas was one of the older children in the neighborhood, and the younger children looked up to him. As a teenager, he worked alongside her father to renovate parts of her childhood home, helped out with yard work, and always had a kind word to say to neighbors young and old. These memories prompted Elena to contact him years after learning of his arrest and conviction