Name: Grace Chepenik , University of Miami c/o 2021 with BFA in Painting & Glassblowing
Facebook: Grace Chepenik Art
I created this art piece because I felt compelled to show my support for the black community during these challenging times. I am a privileged white woman who will never be able to understand the oppression that these black individuals have been subjected too, nor be able to comprehend the emotions of grief and pain they are enduring during this time. During my lifetime, this movement is the largest one I have experienced and I wanted to speak up and help as an ally.
A year ago I watched “When They See Us” on Netflix, a series based on the Central Park 5. This was when I came to realization of the white privilege I was born with, and learned of the systematic oppression of black people in our country, and globally. I was outraged and angered. Shocked at how this horrific story was not only true but also fairly recently. I was driven to find my own way to help so I conducted research on how I could help with similar scenarios. Through this, I learned of the Innocent Project. I created prints of this art piece, which are currently on sale on my website whereby I am donating 100% of the profits shared between this charity, Black Lives Matter and Campaign Zero. These organizations were created in response to the atrocities that happen amongst the black community and to help prevail justice. I feel that watching innocent black lives being taken is something that one should never be silent about.
A lot of time I tell myself that painting or glassblowing is my voice and speaks for me when I cannot find the words, or simply there aren’t words. Art can speak volume to so many, and so I painted a clenched fist, raised with power, to show an energy of resilience and change. A symbol that has become intertwined with the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the disproportionate police brutality experienced by people of color. I want to be part of the change and as an artist I wanted to utilize the medium of painting to create a vision and continue to raise donations through my art for this movement. I truly hope my piece speaks to people and captures a small fraction of the energy that the Black Lives Matter movement has. I believe through art, education and support, we can achieve the positive impact of change that our country needs.
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