Walls of Demand The Art of Manny Oliver & Margi Weir The Center For Contemporary Political Art
February 8, 2019 to
April 28, 2019
Walls of Demand The Art of Manny Oliver & Margi Weir February 8 - April 28, 2019 The Center For Contemporary Political Art Mather Studios 916 G Street NW Washington, DC 20001 Gallery Hours Monday - Thursday, By Appointment Friday - Sunday, Noon to 6pm
CREDITS Copyright © 2019 The Center for Contemporary Political Art. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
The Center for Contemporary Political Art (CCPArt) is located in Mather Studios 916 G Street NW Washington, DC 20001
Designer: Michael Lerner Executive Editor: Robin Strongin IMAGE CREDITS Cover: Michael Lerner Back Cover: Hilary Schwab All Photographs: Hilary Schwab Photography
Gallery Hours Monday - Thursday, By Appointment Friday - Sunday, Noon to 6pm For More Information www.politicsartus.org firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in purchasing one of the works of art, please email email@example.com and include the artist’s name and title of the work. CCPArt will connect you directly to the artist. CCPArt does not take a percentage or fee. You and the artist will be responsible for the sale. BOARD CHARLES KRAUSE ROBIN STRONGIN MICHAEL HODGSON, MD PHYLLIS GREENBERGER MELVIN HARDY KATHLEEN RAMICH K. CHRIS TODD, JD
CCPArt is indebted to the following for their financial support and encouragement to make this catalogue possible: Grace Bender, Phyllis Greenberger, Melvin Hardy, Michael Hodgson, Charles Krause, Kathleen Ramich, Shana Schwartzberg, Robin Strongin, K. Chris Todd, and all the Center visitors who donated on site and online. A special shout out to Grammy© Award winners Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, along with musicians David Scott Weaver and Gabrielle Zwi - who generously gave their time and voice at our Benefit Concert in support of the Walls of Demand Exhibit catalogue.
© 2018 Change the Ref. All Rights Reserved.
© 2018 by MoCo for Change.
10 MARGI WEIR 16 MANUEL OLIVER 23 WALLS OF DEMAND: A NIGHT OF ACTION 26 STUDENT ACTIVITS/ARTISTS 32 ABOUT CCPArt
Robin Strongin, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Charles Krause Speaker Pelosi addressing the crowd at the opening of Walls of Demand: A Night of Action
EXHIBITION OVERVIEW Walls of Demand
The Art of Manny Oliver & Margi Weir On exhibit at CCPArt from February 8 - April 28, 2019 We present this exhibit, hoping it will make you angry. It commemorates the 1st anniversary of the senseless murder of 17 students and teachers at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida --- and another year of what can only be described as criminal negligence on the part of the gun lobby and the President and Congress of the United States. One of the Parkland students you will become acquainted with as you walk through the exhibit is Joaquin Oliver. A handsome, talented 17-year-old kid who had recently become an American citizen, Joaquin had his whole life ahead of him when he left home for school last February 14th. Instead, he would become yet another victim of the gun violence in a country where teenagers considered too young to buy cigarettes or beer can load up on guns with no questions asked, thanks to the NRA. The images of Joaquin you will see were created by his father, Manny Oliver. An artist, he decided to use his talent “to give Joaquin a voice” in the on-going debate over gun violence in America. Since his son’s murder, Manny has painted what he calls Walls of Demand at locations across the country, including in front of the NRA headquarters building in northern Virginia. Using a graffiti-like style that captures both Joaquin’s innocence and Manny’s sorrow, each wall is made up of panels 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. He paints them in public places to call attention to his principal demand, that our government defy the NRA and pass laws that will prevent mass murders like the one in Parkland from happening again. We are honored to display nine of these panels because we agree with their message and judge them to be superb examples of protest art: haunting images that once seen, cannot be easily forgotten. We’re also pleased to present Margi Weir’s mixed media paintings and vinyl multiples; their style is more formal, yet equally compelling. The artist’s sense of irony and dark humor neatly undermine the illogic of the NRA’s catch-phrase, “Guns don’t kill people. People do.” An associate professor of painting and drawing at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, Margi uses figurative arrangements seen in Egyptian tombs and Grecian amphorae to create visually arresting art that addresses 21st Century social and political controversies. Her series addressing gun violence dates from 2014, after two close friends, both armed, were shot to death by a third man during an argument over an abandoned house in Detroit. Also on display are family/survivor portraits from Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence and the winning entries from an art contest sponsored by MoCo4Change, a student group formed in Montgomery County, MD last year after the Parkland murders.
EXHIBITING ARTISTS Manuel Oliver
Student Activist Artists William Agn Maya Bosse Ranita Chowdhury Caroline Crump Alisha Dhir Dylan Fan Victoria Gonzalez Avi Grant Nick Karch Annalise Knott Sydney Maggin Hannah Markov Karenna Nambiar Julia Pavlick Eleanor Raab Sarah Rashid Dori Reagan Maya Valencia Alissa Weisman
MARGI WEIR “Since November of 2014, I have been working on a body of creative work based on gun violence in America. It was a topic that I could not ignore following the deaths of two friends who were shot and killed in a gun fight over a foreclosed house, that took place just after Thanksgiving 2014 on the west side of Detroit. The incident was written about in the Detroit Free Press as the ‘Foreclosure Killings.’ Everyone involved had a legal hand gun, nonetheless two people are dead and the third has been tried for murder. My work/creative research has always been about topics that are personal even if political. It is often the only way that I can come to terms with things that anger me or frighten me. I have become so horrified by the level of gun violence in this country that I had to take a look at it through making work about it.”
Home on the Range by Margi Weir
Hands Up, Donâ€™t Shoot by Margi Weir
We Are All Targets by Margi Weir
Donâ€™t Shoot Gun - Birds by Margi Weir
MANUEL OLIVER “I love art. That’s what I do. OK, I don’t know how to fight in any other way. I speak and draw. And there is a creative process behind these walls. It wasn’t planned to be happening, of course, this; our future should be way different than what we’re living right now. But so, we come to these places. We congregate people who follow our movement, and then we start drawing, on not permanent walls, images of Joaquin. This is a way to continue to give Joaquin a voice. And I do graffiti art style, so a lot of stencils. I research deep where we’re going and what’s happening in that location. And according to that, I will play around with some elements and make sure that Joaquin’s words are pretty loud and clear. We decided, Patricia and me, that Joaquin, besides being a victim, that he is, sadly but true, he will be an activist. And this is a way to do that. This is a way to bring the legend of Joaquin, right here, right now, very loud and clear, as one of the kids leading this amazing movement.” From the August 15, 2018 article, “Parents of Murdered Parkland Student Joaquin Oliver on Using Art to Demand End to Gun Violence,” Democracy Now!
The Last Lockdown by Manuel Oliver
Free Bird by Manuel Oliver 20
Vote for Change by Manuel Oliver
Stronger Than Ever by Manuel Oliver 22
Guac is Back by Manuel Oliver
WALLS OF DEMAND WALLS OF DEMAND is a nationwide art project, and a way for Manuel Oliver’s son, Joaquin, to have a voice. These murals have a very powerful image so it’s hard to look away, and hard to ignore. These walls trigger people to think about gun violence, and the need for change. And we want you to a part of it as well…come see Manuel Oliver’s live activism graphic art and your chance to leave your mark on it as well. The Loss of 17 lives on February 14th, 2018 at MSD High School in Parkland, Florida due to yet another mass shooting, caused a conversation to erupt in our country and around the world and a youth movement to be born. Change The Ref, a Non-profit Organization, was formed to empower our Future Leaders. Change The Ref gives the kids of today the tools they need to be empowered to make changes to critical issues that affect our nation, through education, conversation, and activism. CTR is an organization created to fuel the youth of today, empowering them to lead the way and make impactful changes happen. Founded in the memory of their son Joaquin who was one of the 17 victims, Manuel and Patricia Oliver are committed to making sure that their son’s life and the lives of the other 16 victims are never forgotten and that real change happens to prevent future tragedies like this from happening ever again. The only way that will occur is if we have the ability engage the next generation and the generations after to get involved, fight for their values and beliefs and have their voices heard!
© 2018 Change the Ref. All Rights Reserved.
WALLS OF DEMAND: A Night of Action 5:30pm
Gallery Doors Open
Welcome Robin Strongin, Co Founder, CCPArt (Moderator) Exhibit Overview Charles Krause, Founder, CCPArt Ruby Brayton and Julia Pavlick, MoCo4Change Manny (Artist) & Patricia Oliver, Guac’s Parents, Activists & Founders, Change the Ref and Tori Gonzalez (Guac’s Girlfriend) Elected Officials: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep.Ted Deutch, Rep. Joe Kennedy, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Rep. Donna Shalala, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz 7:00pm
Special thanks to Shana Schwartzberg, Amit Dadon, Dani Miller, Steve Rabinowitz, art teacher Dana Mooney, and all the student artists and activists.
WALLS OF DEMAND: A Night of Action
Remembering Those Lost to Gun Violence February 12, 2019
Mel Hardy, Rev. Bill Minson
Members of Congress Speak at A Night of Action
Rep. Donna Shalala
Rep. Joe Kennedy
Rep. Ted Deutch
Rep. Jamie Raskin
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
STUDENT ACTIVISTS/ARTISTS Amer15a by Annalise Knott My piece, “This is America,” was originally inspired by John Gast’s “Manifest Destiny” and includes a line from the song “This is America” by Childish Gambino. “This is America” (Gambino) is a song that was made in response to all the school shootings following the one in Parkland. The music video (as well as a couple of lines in the song) contain subtle innuendos on such issues as racism, gun violence, and the use of social media as a distraction from all the chaos going on around us. I thought this would be fitting to incorporate into this piece to reflect the chaotic approach and protest of lenient gun control laws.The definition of manifest destiny is the belief that it is your god given right to settle westward. This relates to the second amendment debate and how red America believes it is their god given right to own a gun. Furthermore, Gast’s painting is one that you may not completely understand at first glance, but then as you look at each element on its own you start to understand the big picture. I wanted to achieve the same effect by including a bunch of different elements that at first don’t make a coherent story when you look at all the elements on their own, but you start to understand what they have in common when you examine them closely. I used movement in my composition to lead the eye through the painting and emphasis, with the contrast of solid colors against the figures, to make them stand out. At the top of my painting, you will see the sun setting on capitol hill. This represents the darkness, consuming the government. The message on the left reads: “this is AmeR-15a.” The hidden message within the word “America” is AR-15 which is an assault rifle that is infamously used in mass shootings. Moving down the page, is an eagle holding an AR-15 in its talons. This is my modified version of the National Rifle Association’s emblem. On the very right are candles being covered by a giant band-aid. There are 17 visible candles to represent the 17 people who died in the Parkland shooting. The band-aid depicts the visual notion that people giving their “thoughts and prayers” act only as a band-aid and not a solution. The donkey and the elephant represent the two political parties. The donkey is in a cage and the elephant is free to roam about. This symbolizes the feeling that the Democrats are being backed into a corner, while the Republicans roam freely to determine the gun control debate. Lastly, the white figures on the bottom left are the family of the victims and the brown shoes are the feet of the victim who is lying down. I’ve left the people white as if they are faceless so that they could be anyone who’s ever lost someone in a shooting. My overall message is: instead of brushing over the shootings that occur, our government should enforce tighter gun laws so tragedies such as the Parkland shooting never happen again.
Emma by Eleanor Raab I believe my portrait of González exemplifies Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's ideals as they both were and are strong advocates for equality and peaceful yet powerful protests in order to make change. González has been an extremely strong advocate for gun control and has peacefully made her opinions known and gotten her point across on numerous occasions. In the picture, she has a single tear rolling down her face, obviously showing the sadness and hardships she and her classmates have gone through as students at the Parkland shooting, but her head is still held high, as she represents and speaks for the 17, displayed behind her, the 17 who were killed in the Parkland shooting.
Enough by Sydney Maggin Shortly after the shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018, I participated in a school walkout where peers and I went downtown to the White House during the school day, to protest the lack of gun laws currently existing in the United States. My poster has the names of all the students who have lost their lives to acts of gun violence within schools dating from the Columbine shooting in 2000, and ending with the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. The white space below the names is meant to provide a stark contrast to the filled space, expressing my hopes, along with the hopes of all students in America to have faced the last school shooting.
Everyday Shootings by Sarah Rashid This piece is important to me because gun violence has steadily become a huge problem in recent years, whether it’s mass shootings taking place across our country or the loss of innocent African Americans due to police brutality. So I decided what better way to artistically represent these two issues than through an eye. Eyes convey our emotions, so I was able to embark on the saddened events by listing some of the mass shootings that have happened in our country, and yet highlighting certain elements of the Black Lives Matter movement all through an emotional eye.
Everyday Victim by Dori Reagan Fear is something we all feel, some more than others. Recognizing and controlling that fear is necessary to survive in today’s social climate, even when outside factors weigh in. This piece articulates the turmoil of fear as we feel it in its rawest form.
Fake News by Karenna Nambiar This piece explores how the way we consume our news has shifted from the more traditional methods of newspaper, television and print to social media and online news sites, and the public’s increased skepticism of the media. This skepticism not only reflects public attitudes toward media, but distrust of the government as a whole, begging the question: in a society where we can no longer trust those entrusted to lead, who can we trust?
Gun Control by Caroline Crump I created this piece using mainly colored pencils and pen. It is a drawing of people protesting in front of the Capitol for gun control. This piece was important to me because gun control has morphed itself in one way or another into everybody's lives. It is important to stop gun violence, and everybody should be involved in helping to change our lives and our country for the better.
Love, Not Hate by William Ahn 3 months and 14 days into 2018, students across the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) unleashed the power of civil disobedience and descended upon Capitol Hill with a single purpose: to March For Our Lives. The generation of students, having lived in constant and imminent fear of a shooting in their own schools, decided that enough was enough. They rallied behind each other to fight for a safer life, a safer future, a safer America. This portfolio of the March 14th Walkout demonstrates the power of the next generation of voters that will forever change the political landscape of America.
March for Our Lives by Nick Karch I took this photograph at the March for Our Lives 2018 event. The metro station was filled with people's signs and there was a large crowd of protesters standing around. I chose to highlight the signs and the people standing in the background to emphasize that the power is in the hands of the people; we all stand united by this one vision of a future where gun violence is a thing of the past and gun ownership is, at the minimum, strictly regulated.
No One is Listening By Maya Valencia I love being able to use my artwork to help voice peopleâ€™s ideas in a unique way. Art is my gateway to displaying my opinions and ideas in a distinctive way. I strive to create unique, innovative projects that create conversation. Expressing your voice and opinions is vital to shaping our country. I am lucky that my art can be used for such profound ends.
Open to All by Avi Grant For this photograph I was inspired by the Immigration March that occurred in late June due to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents and the outcry that came with it. I took part in that March and captured a moment where the protesters were standing near the White House. This was a visceral moment and showed the power of protests to attempt to bring change.
School Safety by Alissa Weisman I'm growing up in a generation where we hardly notice when there is another mass shooting, and worry that there is a shooter when a balloon pops or a car backfires. It's time for us take take control of the future, because we are the future. We must be the ones to end gun violence.
Tie it Down by Dylan Fan The gun is made from blue paper and is punctured with white strings that flex and warp the paper gun by being restrained to the red board. This represents the weak power guns need to be limited by laws and social change to facilitate the progress towards a safer America. The colors also represent the colors on our flag. The needle symbolizes the tool used to tie the gun down: the pen to write laws. The piece is finished with the words “It’s about time!” because it has taken an extraordinary and unacceptable amount of time for this awakening to happen
The Movement by Alisha Dhir Growing up alongside the new wave of feminism has given me the opportunity to represent the movement from a broad lens, projecting the strength we have as a community. However, I often incorporate elements of stereotypical femininity in my pieces as I believe a large part of feminism is accepting that women can be whoever they want to be, and that includes the pink and the glitter that has been deemed “girly.” As for my style, I often choose line art as a way to let the audience fill in the lines and find their own definition of feminism within.
The Revolution Begins by Maya Bosse When I held up my sign as part of a wave of demonstrators in front of the Capitol at the March For Our Lives, I knew I didn’t want to forget that scene. So many people of so many different backgrounds came together to speak up and make their voices heard. I wanted to freeze that moment in time so that we wouldn’t forget what we all came there to do that day. Gun violence has been and continues to be a huge problem in the United States, and we have to keep showing up until real steps are taken to make change. I hoped to communicate this in my acrylic painting, “Enough.”
Untitled by Tori Gonzalez As the hands on this clock tick, bullets hit innocence to death, tick tick tock, make the time stop, or the fucking bullets.
Vote? Yes by Hannah Markov If there's one thing that 2018 has taught me, it's that a vote is a voice, and everyone's voice matters. This photo was taken at a neighborhood festival, where a tent was set up to encourage more people to register to vote. When editing, I emphasized the color red because it means energy, strength, danger, and power, all of which play a major part in today's politics.
We Are The Change by Ranita Chowdhury I took this picture at the Gun Control Walkout last year in March. I want this to show that the teens of today's age aren't going to stand back and watch others be killed or have any sort of injustice be brought upon them. We want to take charge to change our futures and lives for the better and promote better policies regarding gun control as well as other issues.
We Matter by William Ahn 3 months and 14 days into 2018, students across the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) unleashed the power of civil disobedience and descended upon Capital Hill with a single purpose: to March For Our Lives. The generation of students, having lived in constant and imminent fear of a shooting in their own schools, decided that enough was enough. They rallied behind each other to fight for a safer life, a safer future, a safer America. This portfolio of the March 14th Walkout demonstrates the power of the next generation of voters that will forever change the political landscape of America.
4.3 by Julia Pavlick This piece was made to commemorate the lives of 8 transgender women, all of whom were alive in the beginning of 2018, smiling as pictured above, but were viciously murdered at some point in the year. Despite how little it is reported, there is an epidemic of violence against trans woman, especially trans women of color, in America; the overwhelming majority of it is gun violence. These 8 women still only make up about 1/4 of the total number of trans women who were murdered last year. Many of these women were misgendered by police, investigators, and the media after their deaths. I urge everyone who is working to prevent gun violence, remember these women, remember their names, remember their struggle, remember their stories.
ABOUT CCPArt CCPArt’s MISSION: to inspire needed social and political change through the power of art. To enable artists to exhibit fine art in support of good governance, rule of law and positive social and political change. CCPArt’s VISION: to encourage the political consciousness and cohesion of America’s creative class; the impact of which will establish political and socially-engaged art as the defining Art of the 21st Century. CCPArt’s GOAL: to exhibit work that will empower the nation’s visual artists; providing, for the first time, an institutionalized means by which they can express their political views and use their creativity and talent to actively engage with, and influence, policy makers and policy outcomes. The Center’s founders believe that facilitating the active engagement of America’s creative class will help restore a once-vital part of the democratic process in the United States, the give-and-take of public debate, that’s been largely lost due to the corrosive effect of Big Money and backroom politics brought about by Citizens United.
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Walls of Demand The Art of Manny Oliver and Margi Weir February 8 - April 28, 2019