I am a visual artist. My work has always been grounded in issues from living the day to day. I see the visual world as a mirror of human priorities. My work is meant to initiate an examination of the inherent responsibility that goes with living.
On June 17, 2015, nine people were shot and killed in the Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, South Carolina. The victims were part of a bible study group. The victims were peaceful citizens. The victims were sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles and friends. Hate and violence should have no place in America. Is our collective memory so short that we forget the pain from each of the mass shootings? Do we just add nine more hash marks to the tally? Too many killings-too much hate-too much pain.
After is defined as during the period of time following an event. Today is the after of the violence of May 23, 2014, in the college town of Isla Vista, California. Today and tomorrow are the after of a killing spree that left six dead and thirteen hurt. Everyday will be the after for the family and friends of the six people killed. Everyday will be the after for the thirteen who suffered injuries. The after for these victims should have been happy events-celebrations, but instead the after is filled with loss. Why is our world filled with so many tragic afters?
Compulsory education is law in every state in America. The intention was and is, to give our children the best chance to have a full and happy life. On December 13, 2013, Claire Davis went to school. She was in the hallway of The Arapahoe High School at 12:33 and she was shot. She died on December 21, 2013 from her injuries.
Education is thought to be the key to success and happiness and school was to be a sanctuary for learning. Learning is about the future. Learning is to take one beyond. Claire went to school to learn but she was shot in her school. Claire’s future was wiped out by a mentally imbalanced person with a gun.
America is left with a lesson to be learned from the killing of Claire. There was the same lesson to be learned from the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings on December. 14, 2012. The lesson is not an abstract concept. It is that guns, in the hands of the mentally imbalanced, are killing our youth. Guns in the hands of the mentally imbalanced are making our schools places where our young are fearful of violence. It is compulsory that America learns this lesson.
A park is a public area in a town that is used for recreation. Recreation is an activity done for enjoyment when one is not working. On January 29, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton went to a Chicago park with her friends. They were using the public area as a place of recreation. Hadiya was shot to death in the park. Hadiya Pendleton was 15 and was a hard working student. Hadiya Pendleton performed at the 2013 presidential inaugural events. Hadiya is dead because in Chicago gun violence seems to have become a way of life that could be said to border on recreation for some members of the Chicago community.