_A Lifetime of..._
Throughout my life art has always been a way for me to express myself. My life experiences have always inspired me to create. For me making is a form of therapy, it is a place where I’ve found safety in the quiet. A place where I can tell my stories, that fill up the quiet.
At the start of my MAT thesis, I was burnt out from school and uninspired. Being in quarantine for months left me without my muse of life to inspire me. Everyday was the same, even on the news…. Then on May 7th, 2020, a video of Ahmaud Arbery being murder was leaked to the press and shown to the world. To make matters worse he was killed all the way back and in February last year. Only a few weeks after that, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in broad daylight. Then I learned about Breonna Taylor’s murder, and it felt like the world had stopped.
As a bi-racial women who grew up in a predominately white environment, and as another black woman to the world, I have always felt the burden of my skin color. As a black person in the world, we are constantly reminded of our mortality. We see it everyday with the Atatianas, Georges and Ahmauds of the world. It becomes a never-ending cycle and because of that it turns into the background noise of our lives. Not always heard, but constantly there, leaving these human beings’ lives summed up to nothing more than a sound or video. This series was created as a way for me to break the cycle of background noise and to replace each victim’s images or videos of their final moments on this earth with something else. I wanted to create something that memorialized the fallen souls, whose deaths have forever changed me. Every African American life that has been stolen because of police brutality or racism is important. But for me, in my 23 years of life there have been more deaths than I can remember. So for this series I focused on the deaths that stopped my world and left an impact on me so much that it feels like it became a part of my story.
I believe as an art educator it is our duty to create a space where all students can express themselves and share their stories. I want my work to be an example to my students of just that: art is a way to express themselves and share their stories. This will teach students that their voices, thoughts, opinions and stories matter in the world. Because they do, now more than ever. By creating a safe space within my classroom, I hope I can be a guide for students to explore the world around them and themselves.