Sunday, July 08, 2012

Kelly Thomas Art Exhibit at the PAS Gallery

Friday night was the Kelly Thomas exhibit sponsored by Art With an Agenda. It was truly a great thing to be a part of. My friend (and soul sister) Cherie Currie and I arrived at the same time. There was just so much good work there and such a huge variety. Here is what Cherie did. She sculpts with a chainsaw! 
Cherie's piece
Her piece is very positive and uplifting and if you've read the previous post here, you know that mine is not. Cherie and I feel a strong bond and enjoyed the fact that we are so much alike but came at this from polar opposite places.

Of course our choice in mediums couldn't be any more different. Cherie literally takes great risk not just artistically but physically. There are only a handful of chainsaw carvers in the country and we lost one in 2009  dangerous business!

Me, Ron, Cherie
Most poignant about this experience was hearing from Kelly's family members. His sister contacted me on Facebook and soon his father did too. I had listened to his father, Ron Thomas, on KFI right when the news story broke and was always riveted by it. I loved that his Dad got involved in pursuing justice for his son and in so doing uncovered a whole lot of corruption in the Fullerton Police Department. Bear in mind, I am not painting with a broad brush here, I think cries of police brutality have become as frivolous as the use of the word "racist". For the most part our officers are not appreciated enough for the job they do; but power does have that funny way of performing brain surgery on some folks' psyches. So does living with too much adrenaline and let's face it, some folks get into the work (despite the psychological screening) because they have been bullies all their lives and just want to get paid for it. It haunted me that Ron had to listen, repeatedly,  to the tape of his son being murdered in order to get some justice. The fact that Kelly cried "Dad, Dad, Dad" as he was nearing the end of his beating and his last experience of consciousness, was brutal and was horrible for Ron to have to hear. The fact that these same cries didn't stop these thugs is unbelievable.

Mine's on the far left
I had several people come up to me expressing how much they "totally got" my piece. And they did too! Several mentioned the doughnut being pink and knew that I meant it in an insulting way. Cool people. Ah but it's nice to get our of Stepford and mingle with people who "get" things. One lady told me that one of the officers always ate pink doughnuts. Hmmm.

There is talk of KCET doing a documentary on the exhibit. That would be fantastic. You can help make that happen by going to this page and voting for the Kelly Thomas Artwork.


Tyler Martin said...

What an emotional exhibit. I can't even try to think of it's impact on the family; where a community and group of Artists such as yourself expressed the tragedy in an honorable way toward Kelly. Not an easy challenge, needless to say. Your piece is truly genius in thought, message, and execution and I certainly 'got it', all the way down to its title: "Still Life". Cherie's piece is a truly remarkable tribute and memorial. Art can resonate to it's viewer, yet this collaborative exhibition resonates well beyond a single person but the community and the world.

Valerie said...

This show was beautiful and painful.....and so very healing. Thank you for being involved.... We did a good thing.