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KNOXVILLE—Artist iO Tillet Wright will bring her “Self Evident Truths” project to Knoxville March 11–13 as part of a two-week tour of eleven cities. As part of her visit, she will be speaking on campus and photographing people to be part of her project.

Self Evident
A portrait from the "Self Evident Truths" project.

“Self Evident Truths” focuses on photographing anyone who feels that they fall within the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning) spectrum—anyone who has ever been anything other than 100 percent straight—as a way to “humanize the varied face of gays in America today.”

Sponsored by the Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT People and Ready for the World, Wright will be on campus for a reception and lecture on March 12. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Clarence Brown Theatre. The lecture will immediately follow in the Carousel Theatre. Both events are free and open to the public.

Wright will talk about activism through art, covering the core ideas of her project and sharing some of the stories she has come across on her photographic journey. A discussion period will follow.

The team will be photographing portraits in Knoxville at the following times:

10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 11, at Lox Salon, 103 W Jackson Avenue, Knoxville in the Old City

10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday, March 12, at the OUTreach Center in Melrose Hall, Room F103

10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, also at the OUTreach Center

Individuals must reserve a time to be photographed on one of these days by e-mailing the team at

The “Self Evident Truths” project, supported by the Human Rights Campaign, began in 2010. Wright’s portraits are pure documentation, shot in black and white and without fancy lighting, makeup, or styling. Her photographs are posted at

Wright narrates the video below explaining her project.


On her website, Wright explains, “The concept behind ‘Self Evident Truths’ is simple; it’s impossible to deny the humanity in a face. We are all human, we all have hearts and emotions and eyes that speak to them, whether we’re gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, black, white, Latino, Asian…You get the picture.”

Wright has photographed 262 people in New York City, along with another 527 people in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Palm Springs, California. Her Deep South tour includes stops in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

The final goal for the project is to collect 8,000 to 10,000 portraits.

The “Self Evident Truths” portraits will be compiled into a series of large exhibitions, an online database, a book, and several street art campaigns. They also will be disseminated through numerous digital outlets.

A documentary team is also creating a film about the project, the people they meet, and the issues they face in their daily lives in different parts of the country.

Wright’s photography is regularly featured on two blogs: The New York Times’ “Notes from the Underground” and “The Low Down.” She has published one limited edition book of photographs, Lose My Number, which is presently sold out.

Wright has directed several music videos, and worked as a professional film actor for nineteen years, in addition to founding Overspray, the world’s first nationally distributed street art magazine. She lives and works in New York City.

For more information, visit the project’s website:

C O N T A C T :

Lauren Hill, Sponsored Programs Coordinator (865.974.4808,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Stephanie Dixon (865-974-2125,