Winfred Rembert Jr. speaks with participants from Art for Healing and Justice Network, providing a walkthrough of ‘Winfred Rembert. Hard Times’ as part of the learning project ‘Being Unique is a Gift.’ Photo: Sarah M. Golonka | smg photography

A New Learning Initiative Inspired by the Life and Legacy of Winfred Rembert

28 May 2024

In collaboration with Los Angeles Youth from the Arts for Healing and Justice Network

On the occasion of late American artist Winfred Rembert’s exhibition ‘Hard Times’ on view in Downtown Los Angeles, ‘Being Unique is a Gift,’ is a new learning inititative in collaboration with the Arts for Healing and Justice Network (AHJN), an organization that provides arts programming to youth impacted by the juvenile justice system. 

We invited a group of nine system-impacted youth to make a collaborative drawing that illustrates the participants’ visual interpretations of the statement ‘Being Unique is a Gift.’ This was an important phrase that Rembert frequently said to his children as they were growing up. The goal of the collaborative drawing was to produce a poster to reflect on this teaching and to showcase the participants’ creativity and expression, while raising awareness of the organization and its mission. The posters will be printed and available for a limited time during the exhibition.

 ‘Winfred Rembert. Hard Times’ presents two of the artist’s most recognizable bodies of work—the Cotton Field and Chain Gang paintings—which reflect a pair of harrowing but formative chapters in the artist’s life. Accompanying Rembert's work is a presentation of love letters written between Rembert and his wife Patsy while the artist was incarcerated from 1965 – 1974. The power of art and storytelling to navigate serious hardships is a main theme in this exhibition, one that resonates deeply with the young artists who are part of the Arts for Healing and Justice Network.

Collaborative poster created by 'Being Unique Is a Gift' workshop participants.

As part of the initiative, the AHJN youth participated in an exhibition walkthrough led by the artist’s son Winfred Rembert Jr. This firsthand experience with the estate furthered their understanding of how an artist’s career and practice evolve over time. Inspired by the presentation of love letters, the walkthrough also included a moment for participants to write an inspirational letter to their future selves.

About the Arts for Healing and Justice Network  
The Arts for Healing and Justice Network (AHJN) is an arts collaborative network consisting of fourteen member nonprofit organizations which all play a crucial role in providing structure, coordination and support to various arts programs serving youth and young adults in and transitioning out of the LA juvenile justice system. AHJN employs the arts to heal the youth they engage with and advocates for systemic change within the systems that serve them.  


Learn more about ‘Winfred Rembert. Hard Times,’ Arts for Healing and Justice Network and Hauser & Wirth’s Learning initiatives