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Saturday, January 14, 2012
American Dream: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Truth
Though America is great, it is important to remember the true history of our country. It was built on the backs of African slaves and is currently being built on the backs of underpaid, overworked Latinos and other under-privileged people groups (sometimes slaves). Avoiding reality will not make it go away (as we just saw in "History can't be Undone, But it can be Erased"). The idea of the American Dream is based upon ideas that many will never be able to achieve.
Inspiration for American Dream
This work began as a part of 1892 (post coming soon), a work depicting the large number of lynchings in 1892. America began with the slave trade. Laws were passed allowing the murder of blacks and lynchings were a weekly occurrence after church on Sundays. American Dream depicts how American history and some aspects of culture are so ingrained in the culture and our understanding of what it means to be American (even if some refuse to admit and confront this history). This work is meant to be a criticism (constructive criticism) of America today as well as a reminder of our history.
The American Flag
I understand that the American flag can be overused; however, it can also be a powerful symbol for cultural values. The flag is the perfect symbol to show our country's history. I would like to continue to use the flag as a symbol in my next body of work which will be focusing on sex trafficking. The flag has also been used in mys past bodies of work. See my Native American history poster "Incarceration."
I was talking to a man at the opening; he was reading a slave narrative and this piece really resonated with him. The book he was reading talked about how breeding with female slaves was just an everyday topic and part of American culture. One of my favorite aspects of having this exhibition is how many conversations were started in response to the serious topic. Art is a powerful too for social dialog an change.
On a side, but related not, attacks on the LGBTQ community are becoming increasingly common by the same groups (such as the KKK, neo-Nazis, radical Nationalists, and racialists).