This month, In addition to my show at the Moosewood Restaurant being extended for another month, I have work at the State of the Art Gallery in Ithaca, and at the George Waters Gallery in Elmira,
At the State of the Art Gallery, for the month of October, I am showing one piece which is a memorial to Renisha McBride.
On November 2, 2013, Renisha McBride was coming home from a party when she crashed her car and needed help. It was 4:45 AM, and her cell phone was dead, so she went knocking on doors in a Dearborn Heights, Michigan, neighborhood. She banged on the windows and door of Theodore Wafer’s house loudly enough to wake him. He came to the door with his shotgun, and without opening the screen door, shot Renisha dead. He claimed self-defense, he was frightened and thought she was a burglar trying to break into his house. Renisha McBride was only 19 years old. She was an African American young woman. After the initial shocking news, there were the usual media reports trying to show flaws in Renisha’s character. Was she drinking? Had she used drugs? Why was she out and alone so late at night? There were the usual reminders that Michigan was a “Stand your ground” state where it was not a crime to shoot someone if you felt threatened – even if you had no objective grounds for your fear. Then, there was a long silence on the matter. I was beside myself with anger that here was another young black person’s life tragically cut short, and no one cared. There were no protests, no petitions to sign. It seemed as if there would be no justice. This painting springs from my outrage. If Renisha had been white, would she be dead? I once ran out of gas in the middle of the night and knocked on doors looking for help. It never crossed my mind that someone would shoot me.
In this case, it did not take a riot to finally get an indictment. Theodore Wafer was tried, and in August, 2014, was convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 17-32 years in prison.
I also have one piece in a group show at the George Waters Gallery in Elmira, NY. It is the last painting from the urban forms series that I started in 2013, and I think, the most successful in that genre.