2013. Free hand sculpted hands, arms, and head, fabric, epoxy resin, latex, enamels. 48in H x 50in W x 30in D (122cm x 125cm x 77cm). Photo Credit: Karel De Bock. Private Collection.
Stand Your Ground
On July 13, 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty on charges of second degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. There is no doubt, nor was there ever any, whether or not Zimmerman killed Martin.
In many ways, my work is an attempt to poke fun and react to some of the instances and events in contemporary society, which I believe are generally related to a larger systemic problem. I am trying to find a path to navigate between satire and seriousness to create a memorable, emotional experience and hopefully leave enough room to consider what is at the base. I think that the imagery in my work can be shocking but not arbitrarily so. It is the subject matter that is in essence shocking; the work is a reflection of that.
The pose of the sculpture is based on the Hellenistic Sculpture, the Dying Gaul. Trayvon Martin is depicted as the fallen warrior. The hoodie, which became a symbol of protest against racism, bares the slogan BEWARE THE DAY. This phrase refers to a Langston Hughes quote from the Civil Rights Movement, “Negroes - Sweet and docile, Meek, humble, and kind: Beware the day - They change their mind.” The quote is layered in an image constructed from the Starbucks logo and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His pants are Urban Camouflage, a symbol of the military like police that often enter low-income (minority) areas with force. The exposed boxer shorts have images of celebrity criminals to reflect the celebration of criminal culture in American society. Finally, the boots are Timberlands. Although they are work boots, they are often connected with African American society. The Timberland logo is a tree, hidden in the logo, there is a body hanging from one of the branches of the tree, reminiscent of the lynchings that continued into the 1950’s.