I've often said that art is a social responsibility. Ever notice how a string of words can place you at a time in the past, or bring a voice and cadence to mind? From..... "I have a Dream" - to..."It was all a Dream" / pause / Did you not hear Dr. Martin Luther King's voice and then seconds later hear Biggie Smalls screaming, "IT WAS ALL A DREAM!"?
ART. Be it visual, musical or otherwise plays a role in shaping our perception. Art moves us in ways that are sometimes beyond our control or understanding. Art can be a tool for healing. Art can be a weapon. I felt that the mug shot of Sandra Bland circulating media was a weapon aimed at shaping America's perception of who this woman was. For the millions who didn't take the time to dig deeper for themselves it was likely successful. It likely succeeding at dehumanizing this beautiful woman to fit the idea of a "type" of person that warranted being treated in such a way. The truth is no such person exists. No one deserves to be treated unjustly.
My hope was to give the "social" media world at large a choice. A choice of what image of Sandra Bland they wanted to use during their cry for justice. To insert some color, spirit and truth of who we saw when we watched her videos, educated ourselves on her story and even heard her voice. Some of us took the time to find out who she really may have been. What we discovered was no where within her imprint on earth did we find an image such as the one they offered us. It is times like this when my gratitude for my gift sky rockets. I am so thankful, so thankful to be used to paint this portrait. I pray it offered some an alternative visual memory, a better memory. The tragedy will never escape us, it will often resurface during our justice walk, but now we have another image of our sister to carry on.