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I'm trying to keep my faith. But I'm searching for more. Somewhere I can be safe.

A work made of chromogenic print.

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  • A work made of chromogenic print.




Wardell Milan
American, born 1977

About this artwork

This photo-diorama is packed with coded figures and objects, each imbued with historical, sociopolitical, and au-tobiographical significance to the artist. Strands of Skittles refer to the last purchase Trayvon Martin made before being fatally shot by George Zimmerman in 2012. Images of models cut from fashion ads call out designers accused of cultural appropriation. Family snapshots of women in white are shown holding the faces of Kalief Browder (who committed suicide after being incarcerated for petty theft while a teen) and Bob Love (a model for photographer Robert Mapplethorpe). The work’s title is borrowed from Kanye West’s 2016 song “Ultralight Beam,” a track widely celebrated for its virtuosic blending of rap, gospel, and R & B genres. As a whole, this work meditates on the balance between public self-presentation and private lives across complex scenes of dominance, exploitation, appropriation, and resistance.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Wardell Milan


I'm trying to keep my faith. But I'm searching for more. Somewhere I can be safe.


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 2017–2018


Chromogenic print


1 of 3, plus 2 artist's proofs

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Brenda Shapiro

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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