States of Democracy


Mia Adams      Hina Barla     Yasmina Chavez      Jake Dockins      Lindsay Garcia     Martin Krafft    Michael Marks

Ashanti McGee      Stacy Arezou Mehrfar        Kelley O’Brien



Kelley O’Brien

Title: Liberty is the freedom to do exactly what you’ve been doing, 2019


About the work:

Liberty is the freedom to do exactly what you’ve been doing explores connections between the women’s suffrage movement and current fights for the rights of those incarcerated. Past and present meet through a shared architectural structure in East Cleveland; the original headquarters for the Women’s Suffrage movement is now home to a barber shop run by a former inmate. This film examines the once inhabited landscapes and structures of the suffragettes and on-going desires for freedom through Doc Sheets and his patrons.


Kelley O’Brien is an interdisciplinary artist working between the American Midwest and Ireland. With her background in Architecture (University of Tennessee ’11) and Design (Cranbrook Academy of Art ’14) Kelley’s work negotiates boundaries defined between humans and the natural world. She has exhibited at the University of the Philippines, National College of Art and Design in Dublin as well as SPACES, Transformer Station, McDonough Museum of Art and Richmond Arts Collective in the United States. Kelley has been awarded grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Ohio Arts Council, Wexford Arts Council, and a Fulbright Scholarship to the Philippines. Additionally, she has attended residencies at Green Papaya Art Space in the Philippines, the Irish Museum of Art in Dublin, Laboratory in Spokane, and the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden. Her artistic practice extends into her academic and curatorial research through collaborative projects with Francis Halsall under the title “Mapping Systems.” Collectively they have held workshops, lecture courses, and curated residencies in Ireland and the Philippines.

Kelley O’Brien curates The Muted Horn, a non-institutional project space in Cleveland that exhibits regional, national, and international artists, focusing on expanded practices.

Duration: 5 minutes 53 seconds