I began I Pledge Allegiance in fall of 2017 in response to the Take a Knee movement. I had just heard the news of the Trump administration defining the Take a Knee movement within the NFL as disrespectful and unpatriotic. I thought back to the takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Sanctuary in Oregon where many defined this as an act of patriotism. The image of the white man on a horse with a gun and American flag riding through the small town to take over federal property in contrast to the Black man on one knee in a peaceful pose highlighted for me the division and judgements of this country. And so, with this, I completed my first piece called Knee for Justice. I chose to represent the Black man on one knee being embraced by the American flag as a symbolic gesture, to represent the need to support and listen to his voice.
I completed I Pledge Allegiance as a response to the current difficulties our country is facing. The respect and empathy many of us feel as necessary to reunite our country, seems forgotten and lost in the shadows of highly divisive words and behaviors. My exhibit features 21 oil pastel/graphite pieces that represent various themes of division, unity, and feelings of empathy and support for others. Eight collage works made from prints of my original pieces are included to further emphasize unity.
I thank the Puffin Foundation for their grant support.
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