“No Words” 16″ x 20″ Oil on canvas – NFS
Art Against Racism is an exhibit that is going on in Princeton, NJ from September 20 -30th. The project is described as a “platform to promote social justice, inclusion, equity and anti-racist community-building through the visual arts.” And “an essential response to the current divisive and racially polarized environment.” The exhibition was inspired by Artist Rhinold Ponder, Robt Seda-Schreiber of the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice and Ruthann Traylor art curator and activist.
A few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to submit something to this and at first I wasn’t sure because I felt a little speechless. I wasn’t sure I could do it, so many feelings were stirred up around this issue. After some days I decided that was reason enough to explore some ideas on canvas. The idea of homelessness surfaced and I came across an article in the Huffington Post with this title. “Homelessness Is a Symptom of Racism” I hadn’t consciously connected homelessness with the problem of racism but it made sense and certainly affirmed my inspiration.
The painting started to develop after doing some additional research and gathering of ideas. I pulled together imagery to facilitate a concept and just started putting down the paint. I’m not sure how I feel about the painting since its radically different from what I do on a regular basis. There’s a lot of imagination in this and I think it raises questions of all kinds in terms of how one might interpret the visual message. I think for me I identify with the idea that homelessness happens to many people, for all kinds of reasons. In some sense no one is really immune to that possibility. On another level, perhaps more figuratively speaking, there is an aspect of homelessness that can happen internally through rejecting ourselves or being rejected by others in an emotional way. The problem is broad and deep in that regard. The painting here touches on the shame, the cross cultural aspect of homelessness, the fear around the reality of it, the prison like nature and how close all this all is to “home”.
The collection of artwork that is part of this event will be on display throughout the community in several locations. There will be a series of other happenings during the 10 days, including a poetry event, breakfast meetings and more… to read more click here.