Analyzing The Elements
Many are upset with the label "Black Lives Matter," but it is unrealistic to expect any social movement to encompass all of the world's injustices. In fact, the statement "All Lives Matter" is currently a response to Black Lives Matter (BLM), not a movement actually trying to achieve anything. Imagine a world where BLM was embraced alongside other movements to improve the lives and safety of all.
My artwork explores responses to the Black Lives Matter movement, the existence of other social issues alongside police brutality, and oppressive silencing.
I painted a black woman, because three black (LGBTQ) women started the Black Lives Matter movement.
"All Lives Matter" Tape
I have tape over the woman's mouth with the statement "All Lives Matter," because although it is a true statement, it is often a statement that is used to silence. It saddens me that this statement might have too much of a negative connotation to ever be said without hurting others for a long time.
I used a white hand, because whiteness has created much of the structural racism and violence that exists against black people (and other people of color) today.
Black Hands and Black Lives Matter Poster
I have a sign with the statement "Black Lives Matter" with black hands pulling the sign away, because there are people within the Black community that are against the Black Lives Matter movement. What does it mean for an individual to be against something that wishes to help you? Is this hegemony? Or is this an honest evaluation of the shortcomings of the movement? It is also important to realize that oppression and hate exist not solely from white people. There are many other identities that can choose to oppose the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the background, I have painted many other issues that have more or less coverage in the media. These issues are here for both awareness and to ask the questions:
What does it mean to say "all lives matter" when there are so many evil things going on in the world that people don't care about and sometimes even support? What does it mean to say that all lives matter when we refuse to give people the resources they need for safe water, when we kill people in war, when we refuse to let refugees in our country, when we have hate organizations, when we value economic growth over health and safety, when we let homeless people stay homeless? The list could go on.
Additionally, you can see the KKK in the distant background. It is important to reflect on how everything from the past has led to the current issues that exist today. Police brutality did not come from nowhere. Police brutality comes from a complex and horrid background of oppression.
The sticky note responses have become a part of the artwork. They represent the real voices and feelings of people today. These sticky notes are an opportunity for people to listen to the voice of others and attempt to understand the way others feel.
The canvas sides are black, because there is so much more that could be added to this picture. There is a deep dark hole of things in the world that this painting has left untouched.
The paint drippings represent the quote: "There is no such thing as a single issue, because we do not live single issue lives." Many people experience overlap of problems and may never feel the relief of one problem until another problem is also solved.
Her hair is curly, because screw white supremacy beauty standards.