Arts Editor: Christopher George
Hubert Neal Jr. grew up in Chicago and has experienced the toxic relationship between his community and the police dept first hand. A relationship duplicated in other communities across the country. Neal uses a combination of playful, striking and haunting imagery to portray victims of police violence in order to evoke an emotional response, an alternative call to action through art, rather than waiting for the next video of a murder to do it, and a way to keep the memories of the victims alive.
The issues with acceptable uses of force, systemic racism, and corruption in the nations police departments are an ongoing epidemic seeded deeply in a historical culture of oppression. Waiting for another person of color to die, for passing off a fake $20, for falling asleep in a Wendy's parking lot, for breaking up a fight, or for simply walking along the street dancing, and being scared and confused when arrested, is not an acceptable method for weeding out "the bad apples" in the police force and showing the inadequacies of police training.
"Black & Blue" aims to be a timeless record of continued excessive police violence on minorities, in an age where social movements are trends that come and go, the power of art as a historical reflection of the times is sorely needed. Neal hopes "Black & Blue" will keep the conversation going, and challenge us to look deeper than the symptoms, police violence on people of color being one. From the outside we may not realize, but there is a war between "Black & Blue" in poor communities, a vicious circle of fear, hate and violence, on both sides. The reasons for the war are the disease. If the quality of education was uniform across the country, not inferior in lower income, underserved communities, if working a minimum wage job didn't keep you below the poverty line, then maybe the culture that led to the "Black & Blue" war wouldn't exist. The bigger conversation is, why is the system set up this way, and why is it allowed to continue? Let's focus on the curing the disease, only then will we be symptom free.
Hubert Neal Jr: Contemporary Fine Artist |
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