Saturday, July 4, 2015

PROPS: A Moment of Silence?

Shikeith, Still from A Moment Of Silence?, single channel experimental video, 1:00 duration, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist.
Silent video by Philadelphia-based artist speaks volumes on racism

BlackArtistNews | July 4, 2015

We hold these truths:

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress signed the United States Declaration of Independence. That document certified the birth of a nation and its intent to sever ties with the British Empire.

Unfortunately, the white male patriarchal system that dominated European culture remained embedded in America’s DNA. The men who drafted and co-signed on the belief that “all men are created equal” didn’t regard African slaves as human, let alone men.

To be self evident:

So how do Black Americans celebrate an event that has nothing to do with their independence?

Multi-disciplinary artist Shikeith’s video “A Moment of Silence?” should spark some ideas.  

On the surface, it’s a poignant tribute to the victims of Charleston, NC and the countless number of Black lives quieted through racist practices in America.

More deeply, it offers viewers sound advice for breaking the silence on prejudice and discrimination.

Shikeith uses the black male body as a symbol for the dark, damaging effects of racism. It’s not something we want to ‘look’ at but we must. It’s uncomfortable. As it should be.

But he also uses it as a point of reason: rallying viewers to strip themselves from the misbelief that we will experience greater mobility if we conceal our vulnerability inside a cloak of invisibility. When that mindset comes to an end, we will have created an independence worth celebrating.

All men are created equal, [and] endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

"A Moment of Silence?" questions Black perspectives on independence but it is also a visual testimonial that we shall overcome.

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