Like Clockwork—Corinne Innis and Xavier Basabe Black Lives Matter
Opening Tonight: 8 September 2015 6-9p
AOT Project Salon 159 Hope St Williamsburg
8 – 28 September 2015 *Gallery hours are by appointment and select open house dates
Like clockwork, Police Brutality appears on the rise again. This is somewhat true, there are very real and visceral moments recorded on smartphones, body cameras, and CCTV. However, it is without a doubt hot media topic because of social media. Before social media began to play a role before the individual could go viral with such impact, witness’s cries fell on deaf ears. Without footage, it was the victim’s word against theirs.
For America’s black communities, there are at least two culturally significant storylines. 1) This brutal experience has been going on far too long to be perceived as an epidemic. This is, in fact, a way of life closely experienced by many generations of black individuals and communities, the surprise of recent events is not theirs. 2) Reminiscent of a particular point in the Civil Rights Era, when voices from the white population began to stand with the voices of black people, marked a shift that created real strides at the federal level, not necessarily adhered to.
Social Media platforms have created many Jacob Riises, amplifying and exposing the lived reality of a very particular segment of American people. While direct-action asserts that this segment will not sit idly by, waiting for a moral awakening in what appears to be the activist’s refusal to be acquiescent for the sake of unity. Bernie Sanders, our most progressive presidential hopeful, saw his podium apprehended by savvy Black Lives Matter activists: By commandeering the attention of millions and eloquently presenting a perspective, their tactic proved successful.
If there is anything that we have learned from the Truth and Reconciliation process it would be the recognition that every range of emotion has its place in the process, no matter how uncomfortable it makes the rest of us. This act of refusal is a mindful state of openness, to not mind yourself for fear of offending others—a socially historical submissive position Jim Crow’ed by an often times cruel white majority.
Corinne Innis stands her ground as an individual and an artist, producing a body of work with a very clear, authentic, and strong representation of a specific line of communication, in a vast web of ideologies. A successful artist (an artist that succeeds at creating a fruitful dialog), produces the ability to communicate from an expressive-perspective of an emotion. Innis creates work that speaks for the amalgamation and acceptance of many ranges of emotions, yet the one that comes forward is a form of intentional conscious beauty—when we find a zen-ful way of telling our story.
The exposé fueled by access to technology and digital platforms such as facebook has many of us enraged and questioning. Corinne’s paintings, however, lack anger from the perspective of the artist and are beautiful expressions, influenced by her West Indian heritage, of what she/we are seeing across our screens. Yet her perspective sees an extreme abuse of power, and she must convey the resultant violence; an aggression that for she, is of an apparent sexualized nature. A male Police Officer dominates a teenaged bikini clad girl in McKinney, Texas. Another threatens a woman named Sandra Bland with an “I’ll light you up!” She sees depravity, for which in many of her paintings “Alex” (Clockwork Orange) represents.
Corinne’s trust in primary colors, also another form of standing her ground, heats up the square with a Caribbean fervor, and is complimented with objects of West Indian myths and cultural events—juumbies, flowers or little black girls face down wearing bikinis, placed in a submission hold on a grassy knoll. All of these images are in tribute to a multigenerational pandemic, graphically capturing the present moment that finds Michael Brown who laid dead for hours, face down on asphalt in a pool of his own blood, while a young white boy walks into one of the nation’s most culturally and historically important black churches massacring nine black folks in prayer and once captured gets fed Burger King.