An image of steps up to where a house once stood in North Tulsa

The Spaces Between

an image of old framed family photos on an old television below an image of a black and white newspaper photo from the tulsa race massacre

Photos: Eyakem Gulilat

In commemoration of the Tulsa Race Massacre and as a continuation of Melton Gallery’s social justice art programming, “The Spaces Between” is a group art exhibition featuring Eyakem Gulilat’s photo-documentary series along with independent short films from the Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival. The narratives in these works investigate the personal and political nature of our shared spaces: the spaces that separate us, that bind us, and those that deny us. The exhibition will be on view in Melton Gallery from March 11-April 22, followed by an outdoor film festival on April 30, 2021.

Gulilat’s photography commemorates the Tulsa Race Massacre and documents the lives and erased history of historically Black spaces such as North Tulsa and Boley, Oklahoma. The films selected from the OK Cine Latino Film Festival offer a kaleidoscopic view of Latin American experiences navigating internal and external barriers.

Download the newspaper from the exhibition here: NewspaperDownload

Download the exhibition map here: Exhibition Map Download

View a video of the exhibition here:

About Eyakem Gulilat’s Photography Series

Gulilat’s Site Unseen and The Promise Land series bear witness to the legacies, remnants, and thriving occupants of North Tulsa and Boley, Oklahoma; both historically Black spaces. Site Unseen investigates the history and violent erasure of Black Wallstreet and the people that built it. The Promise Land series documents the parallel lives of the inhabitants of Boley, Oklahoma; a town founded by African Americans looking for independence in self-governance. In his Security Theater series, Gulilat uses appropriated stills of news and reality TV footage of immigrants and migrants seeking to cross borders.

“In 1921 the bloody Tulsa Race Riot broke out, devastating African American communities. It is believed to be the single worst incident of racial violence in American history. The legacy of this violence continues today to be a sensitive subject that bears commemorating.” -Eyakem Gulilat

“Boley was founded as an all-Black town in 1903 by African Americans seeking to govern themselves. Mennonites settled in this same area in 1977 after fleeing Mexico during political unrest. I am interested in the parallels which have brought both communities to this land at different times in history as well as the differences which keep them separate.” -Eyakem Gulilat

About the Selected Films

Synopsis: Celeste, a Latina teenager, loses her childhood innocence and comes to terms with her status as a person of color after an adult pulls his gun on her best friend.

Synopsis: High school student Gerardo Hernandez – raised in the United States since six months of age – was one of over 100 undocumented workers arrested by ICE in Ohio on June 5th, 2018. Gerardo spent almost 2 months in prison before being released and is now scheduled to be deported. THE OTHER BORDER is his American story, told through intimate interviews with Gerardo and his sister, Karime.

Synopsis: Home: Joselyn’s Story” is the story of Joselyn, who was brought to the United States from Honduras by her mother when she was 9 years old. As a mother now, she reflects on the decision her mother made for her, risking everything to give her daughter a better life.

Synopsis: The bounds of love and tradition are tested when a teenage girl confronts her strict grandmother on Pride weekend.

Synopsis: Xóchitl, a young indigenous craftswoman from the hidalguense Huasteca in Mexico, travels to Spain to show the world her artwork and the will and power behind indigenous Mexican women. It’s the first time in the history of Mexico that the lead of a documentary is an indigenous woman from the Huasteca of Hidalgo. She travels to the Old World aiming to represent the rights and the culture of the indigenous people in Latin America.

Synopsis: Pilar and her brothers are ecstatic to take their first flight, but they must hide their excitement or risk everything.

Each of the films represents a different aspect of Latinx experiences. Together, their nuanced representations allow the beauty in human complexity to shine through, breaking the false and dehumanizing concept that Latin American lives and cultures are monolithic.


  • Gallery Talk with Eyakem Gulilat: March 25, 6-7:30 p.m. 
    • Eyakem Gulilat will discuss the photo-documentary series exhibited in The Spaces Between exhibition in Melton Gallery as well as themes found in his work such as Black placemaking and historical erasure. His gallery talk will be followed by a Q&A.
  • Black Male Initiative Roundtable Discussions: April 1, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
    • The Black Male Initiative Brotherhood Circle in collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will gather in Melton Gallery, using the exhibition as a catalyst to commemorate and reflect on the Tulsa Race Massacre.
  • Filmmaker’s Panel Discussion: April 8, 5-7:30 p.m.
    • Filmmaker’s Panel Discussion will feature the filmmakers whose short films were curated from the Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival and are showcased in Melton Gallery for The Spaces Between exhibition. Rogelio Almeida, the director of the OK Cine Latino Film Festival and collaborative partner for The Spaces Between exhibition, will act as moderator along with Dr. Guillermo Martinez Sotelo of UCO’s Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultural Studies Department.
  • Young Filmmaker’s Night: April 9, 6-7:30 p.m.
    • A night intended to showcase and support the talented young filmmakers who participated in the OK Cine Latino’s Youth Film Institute. The young filmmakers will participate in a Q &A with Matías Muños Rodriguez, the director of “We Were Kids” as well as Rogelio Almeida and Dr. Mather from the OKCine Latino Film Festival.
  • Closing Reception: April 22, 5-7:30 p.m.
  • OKCine Latino Film Festival Outdoor Film Screening: April 30, Sunset (Plunkett Park, across from Melton Gallery)
    • Featuring the films curated for The Spaces Between exhibition from the OK Cine Latino Film Festival.