Art as Protest
March For Our Lives, 2018 Los Angeles, CA
Early Saturday morning, on March 24, 2018, sporting a pink pussy hat my mother crocheted, I road the metro into downtown LA. My husband, wearing matching hat, followed. There were plenty of empty seats but they rapidly filled with more pink-hatted riders as the train approached Union Station. This was my first protest march.
We grabbed donuts and coffee and waited, excited and nervous. I realized the camera around my neck had a dead battery. My phone battery was low too, so I knew pictures of the march would be limited. I also truthfully feared the irony of gun violence at an anti-gun protest.
As the sun came up, the streets swarmed with activists holding signs and sporting anti-gun t-shirts. I felt serene as we all flowed like a river down the streets chanting, “This is what democracy looks like,” and “Vote them out!” I struggled to ignore my intermittent bouts of claustrophobia.
Tens of thousands of people marched peacefully through the LA streets, no pushing, no shoving, no road rage or entitlement. Everywhere I looked the creativity and positive energy was overflowing. The passion for the future of our children, of our planet, of our freedoms filled my lens. I wanted to capture that moment of unity and reflect on it in darker times.
Remarkably at the end of the march, and the battery life of my phone, I had over 150 protest pictures. I worked these images on the computer, accentuating the crowds and their posters, obscuring the faces, pushing color and contrast until I felt I had captured the spirit of the march.
Since that day over 70 of these shots make up my photo collage, “More of Us”, one printed on an over sized fabric banner and one printed on paper, creating two meta protest posters. I also fabricated a 6 foot by 6 foot rolling room divider.
For another part of this series, assemblage and mixed media techniques cover more than a dozen of these photos that I mounted to wood. These embellishments amplify the message or exaggerate the humor of the protest poster in the photograph.
For me, making these objects keeps the spirit of the “March for Our Lives” going and abates the doubt and fear in these troubled times.