Race & Art Matters: Three Artists React to the Trayvon Martin Case

By Ellen C. Caldwell

After George Zimmerman’s recent acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case, I, Iike many, felt a sense of helplessness and dismay.  On the one hand, the ruling was not altogether surprising, but on the other, the very fact that the innocent verdict is even remotely un-shocking has stirred feelings of further disillusionment, sadness, anger, and disappointment.

In the wake of this case, however, a much more complex dialogue about race has arisen in both public and social media – a dialogue that is so necessary to have in order to move past an often popular, constricting, dangerous, and dated belief in a color-blind society. President Obama also surprised the press by adding to this conversation in what the New York Times called his “most extensive comments on race since 2008, and his most extensive as president.”

Because art helps me to process things, I looked to a number of artists who were addressing and contemplating this case and/or verdict in one similar way: through portraiture. I asked them a series of questions to see where their motivations and inspirations were shared or divergent.  I hope that this is just one way of continuing and adding to a growing conversation…

Read more here at New American Paintings.

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