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Thursday, July 3, 2014

NETFLIX BINGE WATCHING PROMPTS SOCIAL JUSTICE MIXED MEDIA ABSTRACT PAINTING

NETFLIX BINGE WATCHING

Are you are a Netflix binge watcher like me?! Netflix has a hit series called Orange is the New Black.  It's riddled with issues of social justice to the point where, if you are an artist, in order to process the complexities using art, abstract painting and/or mixed media is a good way to start.  


This series is well written, addictive, thought provoking, and DEPRESSING.  I'm not talking clinical depression (which is very serious).  I'm referring to what I am calling artistic depression.  It is when an artist finds herself inspired by a particular subject, is compelled to create but still feels like it is not enough.  
What kind of justice is afforded
our youth?

Race and equity in the prison system can be so black and white with areas as gray as the cold concrete cell walls that painting in full color seems like an appropriate approach to raising awareness.

PLEASE NOTE: Another kind of depression sets in when you realize you should have paced yourself through a series that comes out all at once and causes a year long thumb twiddle session...

SOCIAL JUSTICE MIXED MEDIA ABSTRACT PAINTING


As tranquil as I find twirling my thumbs as fast as possible without touching, I decided to paint instead.  Say hello, to one of my latest justice focused mixed media abstract paintings called, When Black Turns Orange.
When Black Turns Orange, 2014, Mixed Media, 18x36, by Jolyn Gardner Campbell.

Race and equity in the prison system can be so black and white with areas as gray as the cold concrete cell walls.  Painting in full color seems like an appropriate approach to raising awareness.  This is the story or process of how black boys go from student to respondent to a juvenile donning an orange prison jumpsuit.  This is real life folks.  

Black boys are disproportionately disciplined more often and more harshly for similar offences than their white counterparts.  Discipline in the form of suspensions and expulsions cause so much academic fall behind or push out that often times, that student becomes a court involved youth AKA respondent.

 I saw this happen repeatedly while I worked as a prosecutor in the juvenile justice system.  Talk about a daily broken heart.  You can't help but feel some type of way when these children are from the very neighborhoods where you grew up.  It could have been me.  That's a scary thought.  Orange is the New Black Season 2 may be out, but there's hardly anything new about black becoming orange.  THAT'S A PROBLEM.  

The question is, what can we do to restore justice to our black and brown youth falling down the pipes and into prison?  

Are you involved with any social justice work with a youth focus?  Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. 

I created a summer camp for teens called TEENERGY (teen + energy) because teens need a space where their voice is intentionally amplified and most importantly, heard.  It is still not enough however.  

A valid point was raised a few weeks ago at luncheon addressing these issues.  The speaker asked, "If the old adage is true that it takes a village to raise a child, then it must follow that it takes a village to fail a child."  I thought that was powerful.  C'mon village.  We've got work to do! 

Gallery

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