AwareNow: Issue 20: The Kind Edition

Page 31

Chaz: (continued) Those are not slave owners. Those are fortunate land owners. You can go on and on with your own wording. But it needs to be changed. It needs to be altered.

“I've invited the viewer through his eyes, looking at the reality of slavery.”

So, you have Booker and Renfield in the field playing, stargazing as they usually do as children. And then this one day they both run out of the tall grass, and Booker stops. And at that moment, he's looking at his parents and all of the people picking cotton, and the overseer of the land with the whip. And for the first time, it's not like he pays attention. I've invited the viewer through his eyes, looking at the reality of slavery… In this painting, this is the first time that Booker realizes the unfortunate and horrific holocaust that he's living in, and he vows to change that.

Allié: When someone looks at your work, what is it that you hope they will see?

Chaz: When I paint, I'm trying my best to move further and further away from any ego that I may have… In the years that I painted the Cotton Series, I heard from people who were Asian, Jewish, White, European, gay, straight, old, young… Honestly, all of those people would say that the people in my paintings reminded them of of someone in their family - an uncle, an aunt, their mother… So, they personalized my paintings. I’m drawing, and I'm painting. I’m making marks to represent stories coming through. And I hope that that story is a story of humanity moving us closer together instead of further apart to celebrate our likenesses instead of our differences… I think that my paintings are helping me to give that sermon. ∎

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