In an interview with the New York Times, Emory Douglas, the artist and designer famously known for creating the art style of the Black Panthers, states: “The art is a language, communicating with the community...You had to be accessible to the community and interpret them into the art like making the people heroes on the stage.”
In my work, I wish to communicate themes of family, identity, and social progress through a series of poster designs inspired by those of social justice movements throughout history, mainly that of the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The series of posters, More Than A Monolith, features old photographs and design elements representing the culture of my parents and family members who were deeply affected by the social and political movements they experienced while growing-up in Washington D.C. To me this work is a reminder that the American experience is not one-size-fits-all, and more specifically, that people of color live and exist beyond stigmas and societal stereotypes. The other pieces in the installation, titled Action-Reaction, reflect some of my attitudes towards modern-day activism and political action in the social media age. I pose the question of how we can be more engaged in our own socio-political climate, as well as how policymakers and people in positions of power can work towards change in their ideology and promises to the people.
Posters have the power to communicate all kinds of issues and messages, and their easy methods of replication allow them to reach a larger mass of people. The posters are displayed in a collaged, almost crowded fashion, which underscores the power of crowds protesting and emphasizes the nuances of the subjects in the More Than A Monolith designs.
I plan to make more designs with similar themes and ideas, possibly utilizing my own experiences and photos growing up. I also wish to design a zine that includes more text and features the designs, and to print out stickers and smaller prints of my designs as take-aways alongside the exhibit, which will hopefully make an impact on viewers outside of the art itself.