"13th" is a powerful mixed media work dealing with the concept of mass-incarceration. Hibbert was inspired to create this piece after reading "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander, and subsequently viewing Ava Duvernay's documentary "13th" which also features commentary from Alexander. "The New Jim Crow" is an informative, fact based book which explores how systemic racism in the American prison system is analogous to the Jim Crow laws of the mid 20th century.
"The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement...As the United States celebrates its “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of black men in major urban areas are under correctional control or saddled with criminal records for life
Today, it is no longer socially permissible to use race explicitly as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet as civil-rights-lawyer-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander demonstrates, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways in which it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans."
For many Americans, it easy to separate themselves from social issues, especially matters of race; however, as Martin Luther King Jr. teaches us "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." In this piece, Hibbert places a mirror within an ornate black frame. The mirror is tinted black with vertical bars painted on top. The viewer is forced to see his or her reflection shaded black and behind bars, inspiring a moment of empathy with those affected by mass-incarceration. The contrast between the detail of the frame and rugged mirror speaks to the troubling relationship between a corrupt prison system and the extreme wealth which is generated from it.