Tuesday, June 24, 2014

STILL, 2014, is a site-specific sculpture. The object I created, a 6" diameter x 4" high bronze cap for an abandoned cast-iron lamppost, depicting a hoodie sweatshirt on the ground, is only one part of the entire piece. The other component is the Soldier's Monument, located in the center island of the intersection of Centre, South, and Eliot Streets in Jamaica Plain.

The first part of this artwork, the bronze sculpture, memorializes Trayvon Martin, using the symbol of a cast-away hoodie sweatshirt to conjure the narrative of his killing. The death of a teenager - no matter whom, and under what circumstances, is a tragedy. I chose not to put Trayvon's name on the sculpture, because I also wanted to point to larger societal issues about race, equity, and power. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the most recent National Vital Statistics Report: Deaths (Volume 61, Number 4, May 8, lists non-Hispanic black males as being ten times more likely to be murdered than their non-Hispanic white counterparts (35 per 100,000 vs. 3.3 per 100,000, page 69).

The second component, the Soldier's Monument, specifically memorializes 23 West Roxbury residents who died in the conflict alternately called the Civil War, or the War of Northern Aggression. The conclusion of this conflict - 150 years ago - was the emancipation of the slaves. In 150 years, the notion of freedom in the United States has meant many different things depending on who you are, what language you speak, what gender you are, and what color your skin is, etc.

It is my intent that the two objects - the small bronze, and the large stone monument - speak to the distance we have traveled in achieving freedom for all, and also the hard work and long road ahead to actually accomplish true equity and inclusion in our society. (In fact the original, working title was to be "How Far?....." referencing this notion of a journey)

For some further reading, john a powell's "Post-Racialism or Targeted Universalism" .

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