Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Art of Resistance

I didn't feel truly American until Obama got elected, and now I feel stateless once again. If every action has an equal but opposite reaction, I suppose the election of a hate-mongering demagogue who was endorsed by the KKK is the reaction to a 2 term Black president. I can't afford to leave, so I will have to stay here and fight. 

I am beyond devastated. This country disgusts me. I have to pray for you, but I don't have to be your friend, your neighbor, your student, your editor, or your designer. If your hatred is so great that it blinds you to my humanity, you do not deserve me.

 It is not my job to "come together" with people who actively despise me. It is not my responsibility to placate my oppressors. I am not required to endure the will of racist people. I am not obligated to act as though this was an ordinary election. It is not my duty as an American citizen to support an sociopathic despot. And no one has any right to tell me how I am supposed to feel. I refuse to acquiesce to an abusive, dysfunctional relationship.

I feel the sense of an era ending. I fear a door is closing that won't open again for 75 years. 

Do people see it? Do they know? Do they care?

I'm so tired of so many things. Everything seems like too much. I wish everything didn't feel so pointless. This miserable year. I wish we could set it on fire.

The only place I can see for myself in this coming regime is in opposition to it.

These were some of my thoughts in the wake of the election.  As I alternated between fury and despair, the only thing that propelled me forward was the prospect of putting a group show together, my first since the Chicago Spring show in 2012. I decided to call it The Art of Resistance.

I hadn't intended to feature an all female roster of artists, but that's how things turned out. Group shows, as any aspiring curator can probably tell you, are known to be difficult to organize, and this one was no exception. But the work that my fellow artists contributed to it was phenomenal.

Dana Todd Pope, Obama For America

At this point, I can't help but wonder if  the old man is not crying tears of joy but weeping for what is over now.

Lise Waltz, Profound Disappointment
This piece, made on election night, captures the ugly spectacle that the political process became.

Joyce Owens, Medieval in America
And this exquisitely rendered painting illustrates the horrors our ancestors endured, which we have every reason to fear we may experience once again.

Minnie Watkins, Eyes of Justice

I can't think of a more fitting caption for this piece than "Justice" by Langston Hughes:
"That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise: 
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once, perhaps, were eyes.

Tiffany Gholar, Using the Master's Tools

My piece addresses the sexism, cruelty, and small-mindedness of both the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision and the incoming administration.

I'm glad that the art show came together at the last minute, on a day the superstitious see as inauspicious, a mere week before the inauguration it's confronting.

The show is up until February 6th. See it at the Fine Arts Building's Second Floor Gallery at 410 S. Michigan in downtown Chicago.
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