For over thirty-eight years Herman Joshua Wallace has been in Solitary Confinement in Louisiana’s State Prison System. Solitary Confinement, or Closed Cell Restriction [CCR] at The Louisiana State Penitentiary consists of a minimum of 23 hours a day in a six-foot-by-nine-foot cell. As a member of the Black Panther Party, Herman Wallace has been isolated to the darkest places in the United State’s largest penitentiary. Specifically because of his political beliefs, he has been forced to endure the worst conditions of Solitary Confinement for nearly four decades.
In 2003 artist Jackie Sumell asked Herman a very simple question:
“WHAT KIND OF HOUSE DOES A MAN WHO HAS LIVED IN A 6′ X9′ BOX FOR OVER 30 YEARS DREAM OF?”
The answer to this question has manifested a remarkable project principled in social sculpture, community outreach, benevolence and the ultimate power of the imagination called THE HOUSE THAT HERMAN BUILT.
This extraordinary collaboration has gained international recognition through its exhibition and corresponding book. This enormous project has been shown dozens of times in over 7 countries, garnishing accolades from the harshest critics. A documentary is being produced and directed by independent film maker Angad Bhalla. As Herman & Jackie transition from building a virtual home through an art exhibition to building Herman’s actual dream home in (his birth city) New Orleans, the growing community of support has increased infinitely. THTHB has formal alliances with various community groups, collectives, and committees. MAISON ORION, a Los Angeles based design studio, is providing architectural support for this project to see that it is realized with faithfulness to Herman’s vision with the absolute minimum of modifications. Once the land is acquired, construction can begin.
The House That Herman Built is a testament to the human imagination, an illustration of kindness, an art project, and an introduction to history that highlights institutionalized racism in the United States. Ultimately, Herman’s House is a monument to resilience, courage, creativity and magnanimity. Herman Wallace & Jackie Sumell have committed their lives to building it. Please join us on this journey.
Text and Images via http://www.hermanshouse.org/