This was a really challenging piece. It was a wrestle of self and soul, and of soul mates. Of ancestry and society. It was a necessary contribution to the dilemas that face us today.
We approached the work from a historical prospective looking for similarities and differences in past and present racial tension and injustices. All the while pondering the possibility of a unified future and asking ourselves what would liberty, unity, and justice for all look like in America.
For me this piece has grown me in many ways. I have wrestled like Jacob with God, seeking answers for past, present and promises for today and tomorrow. Despite the struggle, pain, and the ambiguous future.
In summing up my conclusions from this Art and Dialogue: Racial Tensions in America experience I believe that it does and will take all kinds of people to make the world a better place. Talking to my eye doctor yesterday, and African American man, we spoke of the bullet holes in the walls of A&T state university’s campus of Scott Hall dormitories. I told him my father was on campus at the time when shots rang out from National Guard weapons. Killing one student and wounding others. Now passed away, I wondered if my father would be proud of me and my work. My doc said “you know, you did something.” Which settled it for me.
My sister attended the Million Man March this past weekend. I love her strong, resilient and BOLD spirit. I told a friend if it was back in the day I would be Martin Luther King Jr. and she would Malcolm X. Our personalities are a bit different. 😉 But both men had their methods and they both contributed to society.
I encourage you, DO NOT DISCOUNT YOUR VOICE! You were created for HIS GREAT Purpose! We will not agree on every thing, however, allow God and His word to be your plumb line. If you build on His Word, no matter the quakes YOU will never be shaken.
Artist Statement and Process images
ABNER’S TREE is rooted in the words of 2 Samuel 2:26, “Then Abner called to Joab, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you tell your people to turn from the pursuit of their brothers?” And we ask you America, how long will it be?
This art birthed out of our response to our own history as people of the south with two opposing bloodlines and our present day events. We thought it only fitting to create this work together, black and white, husband and wife. We wanted to take an honest look at our history. Ask the hard questions. And open the door for truth, healing, and reconciliation.
We use a tree as the base because throughout many generations the tree has been a symbol of life and of death. It is a meeting place, an image of family, but it was also used to kill many through lynching. The tree itself is an image of tension. The glass surface is pivotal for this work. The work symbolizes a meeting place, and intersection of all colors, tribes, and creeds. No matter, age, gender, or race, as one engages with the piece, the audience will be forced to see through it and engage with those around them. Ultimately, we cannot escape each other. But through humility, an honest look, love, and forgiveness there is hope of unity.
The painted tree is formed from our profiles. The flag is slumped half mass over the black female side of the tree. Her leg bears its weight in tribute to ancestry bloodshed and how much of America has been build and funded by oppressed peoples. The red from the flag morphs onto the blood from lives lost and riots that fill the streets.
We want viewers to write to us injustices that have been done against them or someone they know. No matter their background or incident. This is to promote honesty, healing and reconciliation. We will take all writings and adhere them to the pedestal to create a memorial. Respond here or on FB
May Abner’s Tree offer an avenue through which to grieve, heal, and reconcile. May it promote justice and unity while facing past and present conditions. May it lift heads to hope and provoke some to forgive and other to receive forgiveness as we move towards a brighter tomorrow.
In Honor of those who have gone before us and a HUGE thank you who all contributed to the process and the dialogue.
“Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” – Dr. ML King Jr
Krystal J F Hart