I began this set of prints a couple of years ago, during the uprisings of the Arab Spring. I was excited by the impulse of millions of people to rise up and speak out demanding a true role in government, or at least a recognition of their basic human rights and dignity. And I was struck by the images coming out of the region. They were very strong, raw, forceful, and it seemed that the same themes repeated in each country. There were the mass protest marches, the over-reaction of the police or armed forces and subsequent bouts of rocks versus bullets, and the angry mourning over the dead.
During the time it took to carve the first layer of color, however, most of the uprisings had turned sour. It seemed oppressive military dictatorships were overthrown only to be replaced by different (sometimes military, sometimes not) dictatorships. I suppose it was naive of me to think lovely participatory democracies would spring up pure and entire, like Athena from Zeus’ head, but one had hoped. Dismayed, I set the series aside.
And then there was Ferguson.
I watched the news and saw the angry mourners, the mass protests, and the over-reaction of the militarized police, and it dawned on me that I was seeing the same pattern yet again.
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This set of new prints will make their debut at Open Studios this weekend. My studio will be open for visitors both Saturday and Sunday, October 4 & 5, 11am – 5pm as part of Santa Cruz county’s Open Studios Art Tour. The address is 451 Tuttle Ave. in Watsonville, and I will be conducting printmaking demonstrations each day. Come on out and see some art!