As I have written several times lately, I was raised in St. Louis. Police action in one of our suburbs, Ferguson (yes, legally it’s a small town, but it’s really a suburb of St. Louis), has been the center of protests around the world over the past week, but especially in the U.S. The night it was announced the officer would not face criminal charges for killing a young man, different parts of the city – literally – burned. Cars and buildings were on fire and in other ways destroyed and fire crews couldn’t get to them for the force and crush of people on the streets.
Things are simmering here now. There are still protests but they’re largly peaceful, which is awesome. Something else that has started is that artists are coming forward and trying to make sense of what’s going on. It is especially powerful when seen in the neighborhoods where the protests left damage.
In the city neighborhood of South Grand, a number of restaurants and shops were damaged after which nearby residents and local artists immediately went to work. Just a note, I do not own any of the photos I have used here, and have given credit to the original photographer.
These two photos were taken by @aBell526 and posted onto to Twitter.
This photo was posted by @ILoveFerguson
(The painting says “Peace, Love, Imos.” Imos is a pizza restaurant native to St. Louis that serves a very distinctive style of pizza – thin crust, cut into squared and topped with provel cheese that sticks to the roof of your mouth when you eat it. I am not a fan.)
In the neighborhood of Ferguson, where the trouble originally began, art is popping up in Ferguson. These next two picture highlight work done by Damon Davis.
The New Yorker created an image for their magazine cover:
There was another pic posted by @TomKohn on Twitter that was a variation on the original.
Then this poignant minimalist piece from the artist Shirin Barghi (Twitter). She has done a number of pieces like this relating to other deaths, and they are amazing. According to this article, she invoked memories from her earlier years in Iran to create these works, and they’re powerful. I strongly recommend you take a look at her Imgur…Page? Account? (I don’t know what it’s called.) But her works are up there, along with the stories behind the quotes. Have a tissue ready. They’re also a powerful reminder of how art can communicate across a broad spectrum of topics and relate to people differently.
I hope to see more pieces pop up around town. (Of course, I could always try to create some myself…hmm…) What do you think makes proptest art so powerful? Have you ever made any or seen something that really resonated with you?