Pearson Ripley: Shut Away / Encerrado/a

Pearson Ripley, Samuel Oliver-Bruno (11 months in Sanctuary in Durham, NC, Deported by ICE, 2018), ink jet print, 2018

The Ryerson Image Centre presents
Pearson Ripley: Shut Away / Encerrado/a

Opening reception: June 19, 6 – 8 pm
6:30 pm Pearson Ripley in conversation with artist Jorge Ayala
Exhibition dates: June 19 – August 4, 2019

Pearson Ripley’s exhibition Shut Away is a window into a less-discussed immigration story in the United States. At present there are approximately fifty undocumented immigrants living in houses of worship after receiving deportation orders. North Carolina has the most cases of sanctuary in the United States.

Despite the advancement of a nationalist, anti-immigration agenda, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have avoided raiding “sensitive locations.” Seeking sanctuary in these churches provides some insulation from the possibility of deportation but comes at a significant cost. While these individuals have chosen to live within these boundaries, the spaces end up being a prison of a different sort.

Immigration is one of the most discussed topics in the United States. The bulk of that attention, however, is focused on the southern border. Meanwhile, sanctuary cases are all but forgotten.

Featuring photography and video, this project explores a complex situation at the intersection of immigration, religion and politics. It shows how the isolation of life in these detention spaces overshadows the fleeting moments of togetherness. The exhibition brings forward the voices and perspectives of the participants by featuring their oral histories. Shut Away seeks a more nuanced account of the situation beyond the narrow depiction of victimhood, and aims to highlight individual acts of resistance.

Please join us to celebrate the opening of Pearson Ripley: Shut Away in the Ryerson Image Centre Student Gallery on Wednesday, June 19, 6–8pm.

This exhibition is co-presented with DocNow 2019, an interdisciplinary documentary festival featuring innovative work from the Ryerson University’s Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media program. Visit for more information.

Artist Bio
Pearson Ripley is a documentary storyteller working in both still photography and video. Born in San Francisco and raised in North Carolina, Pearson spent much of his life around cameras before finding his way to documentary photography. Social and political concerns direct the focus of his work. He aims to create honest imagery that nonetheless demonstrates an awareness of photography’s subjective nature. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Technical Photography from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina; and is currently completing his MFA in Documentary Media at Ryerson University. In 2018, Pearson received Nikon’s inaugural Storyteller’s Scholarship.

The Ryerson Image Centre Student Gallery
The Student Gallery showcases the art and curatorial practices of Ryerson University’s current undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni from all disciplines. Rigorous yet inclusive, the program engages audiences with important issues through group or solo exhibitions of contemporary art and historical lens-based media. Presenting six exhibitions per year, the Student Gallery provides valuable, professional experience in the curation and display of artwork.

The exhibitions are selected annually, following a call for submissions, by a committee comprised of staff members from the RIC, along with students and faculty members from the School of Image Arts.

Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Free exhibition tours daily at 2:30pm
Follow us @RICgallery

Media Contact
Kristen Dobbin, Ryerson Image Centre, / T+416 979 5000 x7032