Outside/In Paint for Peace: Friday, 2 Spetember 2016
On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed black eighteen-year-old, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. This set off a chain of events which led to protests and property destruction as well as multiple discussions, forums, lawsuits and investigations, putting a spotlight on our city and our country’s continued struggle with racial inequality.
This exhibition consists of a unique and energetic collection of painted panels selected from more than 100 Ferguson and St. Louis businesses impacted by the vandalism that accompanied some of the protests. The works of art represent both the collaborative and singular work of artists and community members responding to the pain, frustration, shock and anger felt by many.
When viewing the works, one will observe the multiple media used, from acrylic to markers and spray paint. It is significant that many of the works were spontaneous group collaborations that are aesthetically beautiful while presenting a specific but universal message of hope, peace, and unity.
The paintings fall into two loose categories, symbolic and text-driven. Swirls of bright color, flowers, hearts, children’s hand and foot prints, trees and birds—primarily the dove, the eagle and the phoenix—symbolize hope and strength. The text-driven panels feature familiar encouraging quotes from the Bible, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Mother Theresa, and Lao Tzu. There are a few with specific messages such as “One Love,” “Come Together” and “We Are Them.”
The exhibition, Outside In: Paint for Peace, chronicles a community response through art at a unique and powerful moment in the history of Ferguson, St. Louis, the region, and the nation.