My work responds to police brutality, i was heavily inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The movement is important as it provides clear evidence of the discrimination and inequality against African Americans within the States. BLM is a representative collective which supports all unequal groups. Matt McGorry tweeted “BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean other lives don’t. Like people who say “Save The Rainforests” aren’t saying “Fuck All Other Types of Forests”. The movement seeks to diminish the unequal treatment of those deemed less worthy as well as the dismantling of institutional racism and white supremacy, BLM “breaks the cycle of violence and silence” according to CNN.
According to Funk & Wagnalls police brutality is often categorised in “two forms: excessive force or unnecessary force”. BLM also raises awareness against the discrimination and fascist ideals which burden our era. Ben Shapiro exemplifies the use of fear, threat of force, and violence that equip today’s modern bully e.g. police. The consequences of power misuse and ill handling is exemplified in the deaths of African Americans such as Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland, just to name a few.
#BLM creates a communication channel from the centre of the issue to the outside world. According to The Centre For American Progress “people of color are significantly overrepresented” in the U.S. prison population, making up more than “60 percent of the people behind bars”. Statistics also point towards a disproportionate amount of affect towards Coloured people in the so-called “drug war”. As a collective global society, we all hold a proportion of social responsibility that is suppose to prevent such matters from developing and corrupting. Mirzoeff describes visual activism as the conversion of pixels to actions, #BlackLivesMatter does exactly just that. By creating an online presence, most notably on Twitter, they enabled themselves to be in two places at once, they created a global and local figure. Using the rapid expansion of social media, they chose a platform that appealed to the younger population – the leaders of tomorrow. As the online presence spilled out onto the streets, visual activism was undertaken (297).
Banksy. If Graffiti Changed Anything. Digital image. Unurth. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 June 2016.
The illegality of street art stems from the power of the medium, street art reaches all classes of society, it stimulates viewing from beyond the walls of a gallery. It places art into context. Street artists like Banksy, Sampsa, and Ganzeer observe, analyse, and reflect today’s world, their work provokes thought in an immediate context. Mirzoeff calls the suppression of street art, Artocracy (261), one can only assume this is an attempt to retain power over the people. After all, anything that has a cause and effect has the power to sway people’s opinions and thoughts, thus in turn out powering the government and authorities. Street art’s power will always remain with the people, the bigger the audience the bigger the effect.
Wu, Annie. Bullseye Angel. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 June 2016.
The idea behind my work is to create a stencil set signifying the innocence of those unarmed and fatally shot. The angel represents youth and innocence in death, the bullseye refers to the police officers mentality. The restricted usages of white and black represents race, and the bold red represents blood. The unity of the colours was inspired by the line – we all bleed the same colour. Using a stencil allows the artwork to be reproduced in different areas, thus raising more awareness against the issue of police brutality.
Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “Visual Activism”. How to See the World. London: Pelican, 2015, 287-301 Print.
Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “Artocracy”. How to See the World. London: Pelican, 2015, 261 Print.
Sidner, Sara. “The Rise of Black Lives Matter.” CNN. Cable News Network, 28 Dec. 2015. Web. 07 June 2016.
“Police Use Of Force.” Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2016): 1p. 1. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 8 June 2016.
“Bullies.” Staff Picks: Fiction & Nonfiction Books, Audio Books, Bestsellers & More. N.p., July 2014. Web. 01 June 2016.