What Does YES Look Like?
This installation was a groundbreaking moment in my artistic career, expanding my approach to scale and mixed media. The piece was commissioned by curator and scholar, Christian L. Frock, for the exhibit, Take This Hammer: Art + Media Activism from the Bay Area, which ran from March 11 - August 14, 2016 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA). The installation depicts four characters in dialogue and interdependence, each character representing a different set of emotions. The words, “What does YES look like?” are subtly placed along the lower part of the figures.
This question is one that I ask often in my cultural strategy and organizing practice, given that social justice work often frames political messages in the “No” stance. Much of the messaging within social justice spaces is a reaction to bad policy. However, it’s also critical to visualize the world we want. As an artist, I leverage my creativity to imagine a just and equitable world that does not yet exist. Through this art work, I invited the public to ask, what does YES feel like? Look like? How do we image and manifest the world we wish to build and not just define ourselves by what we are against? This piece embodies a shift in my art practice that began in 2012, a movement towards futurism, symbols of possibility, and empowered visualization.
The 30-foot installation consists of four figures measuring approximately 8 x 8 feet each, and with portions of laser cut birch wood hung from the wall to create a sense of depth. Each head was collaged with hand printed monotypes and finished with a thin outline layer of laser cut wood.