"Trayvon Martin: 8 of Wooden Spoons in the Kitchen Tarot."
by Susan Shie Contact me
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"Trayvon Martin: 8 of Wooden Spoons in the Kitchen Tarot."
©Susan Shie 2012. 74"h x 60"w. inventory #422. Peace Cozy #45.
Began 3-2-12. Finished 4-28-12.
Note: I have a whole album of photos of my sketches for my Trayvon Martin piece and the process of airbrush painting it, that you can see on my Facebook page, whether or not you're a member of Facebook. I hope you have time to go see these, after reading this statement and viewing my finished piece detail shots that are here, below the statement. Thanks!
Materials: White kona cotton, airbrush paint, fabric paint. Aurifil cotton machine thread, Artfabrik perle cotton embroidery thread, one Green Temple Buddha Boy bead. Nature-fil bamboo and organic cotton batting. Backing fabrics include Lunn Fabrics batiks.
Techniques: Whole cloth painting. Freehand black line drawing and color areas painting made with Aztek double action airbrush and Createx airbrush paint. Small journal writing made with Silkpaint.com’s basic Airpen and Jacquard Textile Colors fabric paint. Crazy grid machine quilting and one row of hand stitching (just on the border edge.)
The story: This piece is all about the killing of Trayvon Martin, 17, on Feb 26, 2012 in Sanford, FL, by George Zimmerman, 28, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, who, unlike what these volunteers are supposed to do, stalked his victim and carried and used a handgun to shoot his victim in the chest, dead. And called it self defense. This piece is all about the events as we can figure them so far, and about people's reactions to these conflicting stories. To me it is all very hearbreaking, how Trayvon Martin's death, which should have caused us all to unite in grief and remorse, to pledge our intent to never let this happen again, instead seems to have polarized America even more into camps of racist and reaction to racist feelings.
I actually don't need to recount the events that I wrote about in my small cursive writing here, because they are basically the same stories everyone's been following since we each heard about the shooting death of an unarmed young man, by an over zealous cop wannabe, who told the 911 dispatcher "These a--holes, they always get away." And then he made sure this kid didn't. So you by now have the drift of which side I'm on in this story.
But besides the writing of all those fiamiliar stories, I can tell you what my imagery is about. I drew Trayvon's mother Sybrina Fulton, covering her face with one hand and reaching out to her son with the other. And in between them I put a big blue heart of sadness that says "Cherish the children of all races" on it. And below that, it says "8 of Wooden Spoons," which is the suit of Wands in traditional Tarot. This piece is my 8 of Wands card for my Kitchen Tarot project. And this card is about fast moving directed energy, which to me is both the violent thrust of the shooting of Trayvon and the fast moving response of America to this death.
I had drawn the card from my Sakki-Sakki Tarot deck at random on March 2, and I didn't even hear about Trayvon Martin and his being killed til about two weeks later. I think many of us finally heard when the authorities found out that Trayvon had been talking on his cell phone with his girlfriend right before he was killed. And then we learned all at once that the murderer wasn't even arrested, that he was free, and had used something called the Stand Your Ground law in Florida to get away with murder, saying it was in self defense. After many protests of outrage, about 46 days after the killing, George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second degree murder, and then, within a week, I think, he was set free on bail.
Back to my imagery here: I put a big Peace Daisy behind Sybrina, as I've been really miserable about how America has so completely split on this issue, into those who believe George Z's story (that Trayvon attacked him and was smashing his head on the sidewalk, so he killed Trayvon in self defense,) and those who think the killing was a racist murder, with a non-black killer being let off the hook. I wrote the lyrics of the Coca Cola song about peace and harmony, after Coke quit its membership of ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council), the right wing lobby group that pushes states to enact laws like Stand Your Ground, voter ID laws, and stricter immigration laws. Thanks to ColorofChange.org, many big corporations have left ALEC now.
More imagery: I have a black bird of death and grief, on which I put my Peace Cozy at the end of making this piece, because I want all America to come together in ending racism and hate crimes. I painted a palm tree for Florida, but said it could haven happened anywhere in America, as racism is sadly alive and strong. I put a gun shooting Trayvon, but with a ban symbol over the gun, in my personal protest that we have so many guns in the US and so many gun murders here.
The gun shot goes right down into Trayvon's heart, where he's lying dead on the ground, wearing his hoodie. And standing over him are the eight wooden spoons, as all of us who are grieving for the tragic and violent end of his innocent life and his shameful, needless death. The spoon people are all crying and standing witness to this killing.
Since Trayvon's death, Representatve Bobby Rush of Illinois, got kicked out of the House Chamber of Congress one day, for taking off his suit jacket, and pulling a gray hoodie up over his head, and putting on sunglasses, while reading a speech about the racial profiling of Blacks in hoodies. The guy running the day's proceedings had the Sargeant at Arms of the House remove Bobby Rush from the chamber, siting a rule about not wearing hats there. This was one of many, many American reactions to the issue of hoodies and Black males, brought on by the Trayvon Martin killing. There was a Million Hoodie March in NYC, and the hoodie took on a solidarity imagery with Trayvon's cause.
I'll look over my notes and see if I should add more thoughts here, but basically I hope my art piece might reeducate a few of the people who think George Zimmerman was right to kill first and not wonder whether this kid really fit his hate filled racial profile of him. I know that this crime is one of many racially motivated hate crimes that the Black community has to deal with all the time. It is not an isolated case. We need to be more educated and then we need to do something about what we know. Like how we cannot forget Kent State, we must not forget Trayvon .... or Emmitt Till ... or Bill Cosby's son ... or the terror that our Black citizens deal with constantly in the Land of the Free.
Whether or not you're on Facebook, you can see my album of making this piece there.
Please see this piece as a prayer for Unity of all people of all colors. We all want the same thing: safety and a good life for our children. Rodney King asked "Can we all just get along?" Well, it's up to us.
Thanks for being here, Susan 4-30-12
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