VOICE: A Black/Brown
Lives Matter Public Art Project
VOICE was accepted into the ARTivism Initiative's 2020 BLM art show "This is a Movement, Not a Moment" in August. It became an installation in The Revolving Museum and ArtSpace Maynard's art-mobile gallery from August to January, and it is installed in Fitchburg State University's Hammond Art Gallery from January to March 2021(see virtually here: https://players.cupix.com/p/l8VTNXgp).
VOICE is an educational, interactive art piece made up entirely by the voices of racial minorities. It is made on a school chalkboard, painted on either side as the African-American flag and the Pan-African flag. The stars of the flag are represented through line drawings and stories of those who have lost their lives due to racial discrimination. The stripes on the flag will be made up of index cards filled out with contributed stories, making the collective VOICE of those willing to educate others by sharing their personal experiences with the different forms that racial discrimination can take. The goal of this project is to act as a tribute to those who had their voices stolen from them and can no longer tell their story, as well as to provide a platform for those who still have a voice and want to use it to spread awareness and to educate others. Writing submissions can be anonymous if the writer chooses, and they can range from specific events that have transpired in a person’s life to broader societal topics that need to be addressed.
VOICE was inspired by a number of conversations with people of color and people outside of that community. Unfortunately, in the wake of the most current BLM protests I learned that there are still an unsettlingly large number of people who do not believe that racism still exists. These conversations drove me to create a platform that acts as a safe space where people can take the opportunity to talk and share their voice to a wide audience with zero judgment. These anecdotal experiences will act as primary sources for people to listen and learn from and get a better understanding of the world around them from a number of perspectives.
I was interested in making an impactful art piece that engages people and provides a platform for people from all communities to speak out about why it is so important that we make positive changes in our society. I believe that an important first step in ending racism is identifying exactly what it looks like and acknowledging the different forms that it can take through thoughts, experiences, and stories from people who face racial discrimination. In this way, people can be educated by the unbiased voices of their friends, neighbors, peers, and colleagues that face the struggles of social and systematic racism every day. My intention is for people to read the stories from this art project and walk away with a deeper, more mindful understanding when it comes to identifying racism and ways we can do our part to end it. Growing up, I had never been educated on the full extent of what racism looks like or how it materializes in society. I learned through people who were close to me when I got older who felt comfortable enough to share with me what they go through, whether it was big, small, social, or systematic, in terms of racial discrimination. That prompted me to further educate myself on these issues and become an activist. My hope is that this art project can enlighten people and have the same effect on them that my education had on me.
The last images here are my designs for the walls of the gallery space where I created an immersive experience using lights, sound, fragments of faces, and the powerful words of those who lost family and loved ones.
This project is still in progress:
Contact me through email or social media if you are interested in submitting a thought, story, or experience to VOICE!