May 1-May 10 I participated in events and volunteered at Manifest Justice here in Los Angeles. An amazing experience, in which the organization Manifest Exhibit sponsored by Amnesty International and the California Endowment, displayed works of 150 artists showing 275 works in a former movie Theater in Baldwin Hills – a neighborhood of Los Angles. I took all of the photos of art from the exhibit in this post, for artists and info please check the Manifest Justice website.
On my first day at the exhibit I got to speak to one of the lesser known filmmakers of the L.A. Rebellion a group of African and African American independent film and video artists that formed at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the 1970s and 1980s. The most famous of them being Julie Dash writer and director of Daughters of the Dust. I enjoyed hearing about the history of the Baldwin Theater, an independent theater for the Black community built in 1949 and eventually torn down in 1994. It seemed a tribute to the space to house this amazing exhibit.
The stunning space built out for the exhibit was also home to workshops and panels through out the ten day pop up. Particularly of note was the presence of Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin who lead a conversation moderated by Rosario Dawson on how to move forward. Of note was a discussion on Prop 47 which would reduce non violent felonies to misdemeanors in CA allowing many citizens the rights to vote, better job opportunities and resources.
I had conversations with so many amazing people, attended a great discussion on Stop Telling Women To Smile, by the artist who created the posters of the same name, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. A discussion on sexual harassment that was rich with perspective including the sexualization of youth as culture. Afterwards those of us who wanted to take photos with Tatyana for future potential works and shared what we had to say to those who sexually harass women. It was such an empowering event. Along with so many others.
Art is the ultimate platform for sharing important messages and starting conversations around hard to discuss issues. I went to this event feeling, overwhelmed, oppressed, depressed, and enraged with the system that is selective at best around the issue of justice. I left feeling both engaged and empowered. Share your thoughts, these images and start a conversation.
Manifest Justice and don’t turn away from justice in Baltimore, and for Aiyana Stanley-Jones , Rekia Boyd, Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith, Christina Grand Infiniti, Penny Proud, Lamia Beard, Ty Underwood, Michelle Vash Payne, Taja Gabrielle de Jesus, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Tony Robinson.
#BlackWomensLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter #AllBlackLivesMatter
Let us start to manifest justice.