Throughout the history of America, the systemic practice of discrimination toward people of color has been one of the dominating issues of our country’s politics.
Due to the fact, our nation was built by the practice of slavery (a system that was in place for four hundred years), after two centuries of being “free,” black and brown people still struggle to create and maintain systems of abolition.
As an American artist, I have always been deeply disturbed and distressed by the injustice of racism that is woven into the foundational inception of my country. As a result, over the past few years, I began to depict images that detail the systems of subjugation that communities of color face every day: mass incarceration and lack of employment, a corrupted educational system, the prejudices, hostilities, and crimes of separation and deportation of immigrants, massive inequities in healthcare, discrimination within military service, and police brutality.
These levels of oppression have for too long been the societal norms in the culture of this nation. In addition to this, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified these issues on a scale of massive public destruction, adding fuel to an already broken system.
The pieces shown here depict these areas of conflict that have been present, both before and during the pandemic. They continually make me question whether our country will ever find common ground where the practice of abolition will be properly cultivated and spread throughout the torn democracy of our struggling country.
In conclusion, I want my viewers to absorb my work through a lens of critical thought. This action could lead to discussions on how to establish tolerance, acceptance, respect, and inclusion within the many different and diverse communities in this nation. Once these communities develop and hold on to these values, systems of justice can be properly set to eliminate prejudice and bigotry, thereby creating a better quality of life for the present and future generations of America.
Image at top: Norajean Ferris, All As One . . . Portland Maine, 2021, pen, pastel, marker, and ink, 22 x 30 in., 2021.