January 8th, 2008
Last spring I applied of the Kent City Summer Arts Program; three works were accepted, one was purchased for the city’s permanent collection, and I was offered a two-month solo exhibition.
Flash forward to January 7, 2008, the night before I’m to hang the show. It’s 4.30 in the morning and I’m finally wrapping up a show that is part FEAR Project and part Human Trafficking. (at right: l-r Shannon, Alison C, Allison S)
It took some negotiation, but those who govern the art program in Kent agreed there was important social value in the work I was offering to present; with appropriate image choice and captioning this public venue could house a challenging exhibition.
Alison C, Allison S, Shannon W and myself–under the tutelage of Shannon–hung the 25 image show on January 8 in only a couple of hours. It felt good to get it on the walls and I feel it looked good too–some of the pictures I’d only seen on a computer screen. Before we finished, people were looking and some stopped to discuss which something the work is intended to do: evoke conversation and awareness. (at left: already viewing the work)
A few days later I had a call from the program director who said officials had found two images excessively explicit (a Chiang Mai street boy likely abused showing hyper sexual behavior and prostitutes in Phnom Penh learning how to use condoms on a wooden). They also requested some caption changes and the removal of the Revised Code of Washington definition of rape in the first degree. (at right: not enough sleep, but happy to be done….with this task)
I understand that not everyone is going to agree that, in a public space unavoidable to many, reality needs to be seen for what it is. The program director was very kind in her personal commentary and took care of all the changes required for the exhibit to remain.
This is not the first time my work was found challenging, but it’s good to know that some of it is up and it still has a chance to have an impact. We need to know about our world lest our ignorance perpetuate the violence.
An immense thank you to Andrew Hida, who banged out the mattes, and Shannon, Alison C, and Allison S for their help with hanging the show. My heartfelt thank you to Cheryl dos Remedios, the program director, and her help with showing this work to the city of Kent. (at left: the remains)
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