First, some images from an art exhibit we attended.
“This Has to Stop”
Freedom, equality, and those other fine ideals put forth in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the ones we will supposedly be celebrating this weekend, were a short-lived dream for some people. Race and skin color almost immediately became the dividing factor for whom these rights were meant.
Mabie depicts the faces of some of the ordinary people who have lost their lives recently in racial violence. On the bottom of the left panel above, a boy holds a toy gun. Mistaking it for a real gun, police shot and killed him.
A close-up of the center panel shows details of the complexity and the two- and three-dimensional qualities of the work. We were drawn to stand for a long time and absorb the details.
The girl in the center panel wears the chains of the enslaved and a hangman’s noose. Below the chain is a schematic of a crowded slave ship, people chained shoulder to shoulder to the lower decks for the voyage from Africa.
Haunting faces in the right panel emerge from US and Confederate flags, stained with blood. They are people killed for jogging, driving with an air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror, for walking home in a neighborhood not their own, while innocently asleep in their own beds.
Adrian Spotted Horsechief
Another piece that intrigued us was this one, depicting a different racial group whose life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were not included in the Declaration of Independence, treated unfairly in the history of this country just as they are now.
Photographer Thorne Lieberman photographed two life-sized portraits of Native American men, one in their tribal ceremonial attire in color and one in their everyday street clothes in black and white. From the two photos of the same man he created a mosaic, depicting the two worlds Native Americans struggle to live in.
Adrian Spotted Horsechief is a young member of the Pawnee Nation.
I think we would do well as a country today, with all the division and anger, to remember the above.
To stop calling names and listen.
To respect differences and learn from each other.
To value diversity and unite in solving our problems.
Now that would be cause for a real celebration!