While debating demanding topics such as race, religion, or war, it is simple enough to become polarized, and see situations in either black or white, right or wrong. These tactics may satisfy individuals whose position depends on employing policies or implementing strategies that promote specific agendas for a specific constituency. As an artist, it is more important to create a platform that moves us past alliances, and begins a dialogue that informs, questions, and in some cases even satires our divisive issues. Without this type of introspection, we are in danger of having apathy rule our senses. We can easily succumb to a national mob mentality, and ignore individual accounts and memories. With my work I am creating an intersection where body and place, memory and fact, are merged to reexamine human interactions and cultural conditions to create a narrative that requires us to be present and profound.
While independently working on separate public art pieces several years ago, Rodney Ewing and Tahiti Pehrson bonded over the Isley Brothers' song For the Love of You, and have wanted to collaborate ever since. Initially, The Space Program had planned to host them in person, but shelter-in-place due to COVID-19 offered a new challenge. Instead, Rodney and Tahiti collaborated at a distance, with Pehrson mailing his intricate paper cut-outs to Ewing, upon which he printed his imagery and text.
The mural at 3150 Jackson street was a response by the homeowner of the lack of visibility of BLM in her Pacific Heights neighborhood. I chose to combine the images of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd and the text from Saul Williams's poem "Release" to highlight the existence and complexity of how these individuals lived and died. While the poem makes no direct reference to any of three, the content and beauty of the language serve as a type of eulogy for these individuals.
"These works are being created during the mandatory shelter-in-place. It first started out as a way to keep myself busy, but it eventually evolved into a project that allowed me to reuse my large archive of silkscreens in a manner that I continue conversations about Diaspora, place, and identity." All works are one-of-a-kind images printed on vintage assembled ledger paper.
Headlands Center for the Arts
June 16 – August 15, 2019