My first encounter with The SAND Gallery was via Instagram.
I kept seeing posts about their grand opening back to back and figured that was my main sign that I needed to check out the gallery a little more. After more research, I decided to take a chance and submit my artwork for their grand opening exhibition showcase called Welcome to Amerikkka ……and it was a successful submission, I got in!
Designed by @deluxds
Throughout my lifetime, I have been apart of different art exhibitions personally for years, ever since the first grade of elementary school in the state of South Carolina.
But this was my very first major art exhibition feature out of state.
What truly made me really want to join this particular exhibition is the motto or slogan that this gallery goes by, “sell art not drugs”. I thought that was a highly creative method to keep artists from going down the wrong road in a hunt for more money.
This is a great image to portray as well for local creative youth.
The gallery itself is really cool. There are three different floors of the gallery that feature a variety of different black art from a variety of different black artists across the United States. When I first walked in, I was greeted by other artists apart of the exhibition, along with other staff members of the gallery which made me feel even more welcomed than I already felt. The vibe of this gallery is very chill and down to earth. I was even given a couple gift bags as little welcome gifts as not only a gallery visitor but also as a contributing artist for the event.
The three paintings that were featured in the grand opening art show and are still on display at the gallery today include two wrapped acrylic paintings and one canvas panel painting. The first is titled AmeriKKKa in highlight of the show itself. At the time, this show was centered around the police brutality and unfair treatment of the minority community in the United States by law enforcement back during the year of 2016. So for this piece I made the decision to do something that highlighted pretty much how this particular country got its name and began through gun violence. The background of the painting depicts the American flag, but in black and white instead of red, black and white like normal. Black and white were chosen because at the time of everything that was going on back in 2016, it just seemed like law enforcement was solely focused on one thing. Whether a person was black or white when enforcing the law. It’s like they didn’t see color nor recognized it as something of importance by their continuous actions throughout society of unlawful murders and abuse of power. Gun shot holes were added into the flag because this country not only began with force by use of guns and other weapons, but because everyone including law enforcement were and still are very, very quick to shoot a gun. No matter how small the situations may be, it seems like that is everyone’s go-to solution for any problems now and even then. Instead of stars in the top left hand side of the flag like normal, I included some phrases that became viral and popular during 2016 and even before then when it came to police brutality including “hands up, don’t shoot”. Red splatters were added to show the shed of blood at the hands of law enforcement when it came to bad cops and police who abuse their power, along with the shed of blood from slavery and segregation times. At first I was a little hesitant about putting this piece into the show. I didn’t want people to think I was attacking anyone, especially not those that are good cops and actually doing their jobs correctly. I also didn’t want to hinder my chances of being in other art shows by my choice of art for this one. But after a couple days of staring at the painting, I figured and came to the conclusion that art is about honest expression. Art is about speaking when you can’t speak, along with giving those a voice who can’t speak anymore. Art is apart of history and unfortunately the bad times of our country are apart of our history no matter what anyone says nor what anyone thinks is good or bad representation. Younger generations need to know what happened from all points of view so they can be better and learn better ways of living this thing called life in the United States. This has to be one of my most expressive paintings created so far with the most controversy behind the scenes for DE.
Second acrylic painting created for the show was based off of the documentary 13th on Netflix. If you haven’t watched this documentary from Ava DuVernay, I highly recommend that you check it out. Inprisonment depicts the link between slavery and prison in the United States. Basically giving a visual of what DuVernay speaks about in the documentary released. On the left side shows one hand with police cuffs and the right side shows one hand with slavery chains. As you can see both are very, very similar in style and both serve the same purpose….keeping people captive.
Third painting included in the paintings provided by DE for the show includes an old one that I created a couple years ago. It didn’t necessarily go with the theme of the show, but I figured it still fit perfectly. You may remember it from the Bag Lady Painting Collection Series. This painting is titled Insecurities. It depicts a woman’s insecurities with herself throughout society. I wanted to include this piece into the show as well because with everything that was going on when it came to police brutality in this country it fit into the subject as well. With so many people of color being treated unfairly, this takes a toll on the women in these particular households affected firsthand. They may begin to doubt themselves and whether or not what they’re doing daily is worth it. With police brutality against men and women, women typically take it harder emotionally because we are emotional. It affects us seeing our own brothers and sisters going through so much by the people whom are supposed to protect and serve everyone no matter what race or color of the skin. You can check out more information on this painting and the background behind it’s creation from a previous blog post here.
Photography provided by @K_DougDE
Check out my new t-shirt I received from The Sand Gallery’s new women’s empowerment movement called #AppreciateBlackWomen as well.
You can check it out on Instagram here.
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