Im developing a new portrait series of people in the community that inspire me. The movers and shakers that transform our future through their art and activism. Living in the Bay Area were surrounded by so many amazing people and its only right to celebrate each other. Cat Brooks is an artist and a key organizer for the Black Lives Matter movement in The Bay Area. A co-founder of the Anti Police Terror Project, ONYX Organizing Committee, and is a member of Black Power Network. She has led countless demonstrations against police brutality in Oakland for the last several years and continues to be an active force in the black community. When I moved to The Bay in 09 she was one of the most prominent activist that I became aware of when attending public demonstrations against police brutality. Last year I had the pleasure to exhibit my art next to her video installation for "Take This Hammer" at YBCA and she was a point of contact for a few family members of people killed by police that I did portraits for. This picture was taken by Jazmin Morelos during a vigil for Demoria Hogg who was sleeping in his car on a busy street when he was shot and killed by Oakland Police. Be The Storm - Black Power Matters.
Today thousands of indigenous people and allies are gathering at Washington DC and around the country to demand the oil loving Trump administration to end fossil fuel projects like Keystone XL and DAPL that continue to violate indigenous rights and cause harm to water resources and the environment. Anthony Sul is an Ohlone native who joined Red Warrior Camp and other water protectors at Standing Rock and now is working to preserve the West Berkeley Shellmound, an ancient Ohlone burial site being threatened by high end development for housing and retail. Photography by @sunshinevelascoimages
"Rising Future" is inspired by the movement towards racial equality as a key component of creating true social change. The obvious impression from this mural is a smiling face that greets you as you walk into the office setting a tone of positivity. The warm color pallet on the left side references to the sun and the cool pallet on the right side references to the moon in order to connect the physical movement of these cosmic bodies to the rhythms of revolution. A human/bird figure on the left appears with its arm reaching towards a black diamond at the center of the piece indicating the value of black life as the key focus in social struggles that ensure the upliftment of all people from other backgrounds and identities. The bridge arching from the left side towards the top of the mural includes profiles of human heads that fade from light to dark skin expressing the concept of deconstructing racial privilege and patriarchy in order to work towards equality in our society. My personal experience as a Xicano in this country has taught me how racial inequality marginalizes people of color creating unhealthy relationships amongst ourselves and with mother earth. This mural expresses the need for radical inclusion of black and brown people in spaces like the field of technology.
Last week I had the pleasure of being featured in the East Bay Express's first "Best Of The EastBay : People Issue" edition for 2016. I was contacted by EBX writer, Sarah Burke, who wanted to do a feature on me for the following issue of the East Bay Express. It wasnt until she explained to me that I realized it was for the "Best Of The East Bay: The People Issue" edition which was unexpected. Every time I do an interview describing the history of my project, I realize so much has happened in regards to my project and also the overall matter of police terrorism on black and brown bodies since I began this work at the beginning of 2014. It amazes me how far and wide these images have been shown around the world starting from the production of every single portrait on my computer. "Justice For Our Live"s is a project that has had minimal financial support but given the accessibility of these designs online has allowed members of the community to freely use these images as a tool to push these conversations and to shape our ideas towards racism and prejudice in the justice system. There are so many other movers and shakers out here in The East Bay that deserve recognition like this but its an honor to be considered "Best Of the East Bay" by EBX. Thank You!
A key aspect of this art project is the way in which it can be used as street art beyond its typical use during public demonstrations. Using the streets as a frontier for disseminating propaganda is critical in a society that enforces the censorship of content that challenges the white supremacist power structure. Our mainstream media has not and never will depict a proper narrative of marginalized people, especially black and brown folks. So along with sharing these designs on social media, at demonstrations, in the classrooms or in art galleries, its imperative that our public space also serves us as a means of sharing information allowing us to be aware of the dangers of police terrorism in our community.
The installations pictured below where a an undertaking having to piece together each portrait. I started off with splitting the design into four within an 8.5x11 dimension. I printed each on colored paper using10 colors from hot to cold tones. I had the prints cut into 4 halves, with glues I pieced them together row buy row in a pattern that reflects a color spectrum. The larger portraits on each side (Luis Go'ngora Pat / Alex Nieto) where printed large scale to measure up to the colored arrangement on each side and then painted in the portraits. Lastly, went out to a location and wheat pasted this installation on a black wall that wasnt serving any significant purpose.
The exact same thing can be done with the .pdf files I have available on this website of each individual. Do me up show me how creative you can get in your city that will force viewers to take an extra look of who we want justice for and the movement we support #blacklivesmatter
Today marks 3 years since the police killing of Tyrone West in Baltimore.
Tyrone West, 44, died after a struggle with Baltimore police officers on July 18, 2013 during a traffic stop. He was profiled and pulled for the usual reasoning of suspicious activity. Based on eye witness accounts he was beaten to death by the officers during a struggle when he resisted arrest. One witness told investigators that police officers pulled West out of his car "by his dreads and started beating him with batons and maced him, he got up and called for help and the cops knocked him over again and beat him to death, then tried to bring him back." Tyrone was killed almost a week after the acquittal of George Zimmerman on July 13 and two years before the killing of Freddie Gray while in custody by Baltimore police. His sister, Tawanda Jones has been holding weekly vigils, West Wednesdays, every week since her brother's killing. Its been 1008 days and there is still no justice for Tyrone West.
This piece was commissioned by Greenpants/Luminous Intervention based in Baltimore including fellow artist/activist Ada Pinkston who have been projecting on city walls, amongst other visuals, images of people whose deaths have inspired the Black Lives Matter movement. Download & SHARE this image at www.justiceforourlives.com/tyronewest
Luis Gongora Pat, a victim of the latest SFPD killing on April 7th, was a 45 year old Yucatec Mayan man who was homeless in San Francisco. Video survelance shows police shooting Gongora Pat about 30 seconds after they arrived at the scene in which he was allegedly waving a knife although eye witness said he was not posing a threat to anyone. He did not speak english which would of been the reason he did not understand orders from officers to to drop the knife let alone the short amount of time he was allowed to do so. His family was been unable to carry out a proper burial for him. He was unjustly murdered by SFPD gangsters and his body has been wrongfully treated and delayed of his sacred burial ceremony according to his ancestral tradition. He becomes yet another victim of police brutality by way of gentrification by way of capitalism by way of colonization that continues to affect indigenous peoples on both sides of the border. Luis Gongora Pat was a father, hard worker, futbal player and a loving friend. This design was commissioned byAdriana Camarena with the Justice For Alex Nieto coalition. To download and SHARE go towww.justiceforourlives.com/luis-gongora-pat
By Michael Johnson
Posted April 26, 2016 11:00 am
Today (Monday at 1 p.m.) I happened along just in time to meet Oree Originol, the artist who created the now iconic, much shared, and much bitten art posters honoring the lives of unarmed black and brown people who have died by way of police violence. He was hanging his work on the “free speech” wall on Valencia Street. Great to meet the man who created these well known artworks. Here is a piece from KALW on the Oakland-based artist.
Click here to read the article http://missionlocal.org/2016/04/oree-originol-on-valencia-street/
By Jonah Owen Lamb on April 17, 2016 1:00 am
Mario Woods. Alex Nieto. Oscar Grant. Michael Brown.
The names go on.
The portraits can be found everywhere: plastered on city walls, printed on T-shirts and in the hands of activists at various meetings and protests. The clean, thick black lines describe each face, turning them into something more than reproductions of the dead.
From Baltimore to the Bayview, effigies of the dead are not unusual at Black Lives Matter protests. But one local man’s images in particular have become commonplace.
Oree Originol began the project Justice for Our Lives in 2014 after he visited an Oscar Grant memorial at the Fruitvale BART station. Grant was fatally shot at the station on Jan. 1, 2009 by a BART police officer who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter.