Sean Scully’s powerful work Ghost II, (2017) is part of Hope is Strong, a new exhibition at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, which explores the power of art to question the world we live in. With far right parties and hate crimes on the rise, civil liberties and minority rights seem more at risk today than we could have imagined.

‘An indictment of the American criminal justice system’Ghost II, 2017, features an American flag, with a gun at the top left; the weapon has displaced the stars, which litter the painting’s corner. Scully has said of the work; ‘America the land of freedom, the promised land, to which the oppressed and the poor fled: in order to make a life; holds onto this principle, with a clenched fist. And this grip has hardened into the right to bear arms that are deadly and automatic, and that was never the intention, in the first place. Now bullets are sprayed into American streets, like rain, and its children fall, becoming Ghosts. What can stop this affection for violence? Separating people from people, creating fear in place of fellowship, making America, the land of the free, a ghost, of what it once promised, to be.’

Hope is Strong is at Millennium Gallery: Museums Sheffield until 10 June 2018