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Tara Blackwell

Time & Time Again

When I saw the video of the torture and killing of George Floyd, I was immobilized. For the days to follow, I couldn’t paint. I avoided conversations. I didn’t have it in me to have another discussion about another act of brutality towards black people (Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor and on and on). I felt like I had nothing further to say, verbally or visually. And I couldn’t just resume my regular work. Everything felt insignificant and trivial. Amplify was a gentle nudge for me to start creating and to keep expressing. As Toni Morrison said, “this is precisely the time when artists go to work.” In my work, I play with nostalgic pop culture and childhood imagery and, as I begin the process, I usually don’t intend to convey a specific social or political message. I start with a familiar image that sparks a warm memory for me and, as the piece develops, if there is something on my mind it will inevitably come out in the painting. As I was creating this piece, I was already thinking about time. The amount of time the officer’s knee was on George Floyd’s neck. How time moves forward but seems to repeat itself or stays the same. How they say time heals all wounds, but time and time again the same wounds are reopened. There’s only so much time that goes by before there is another hashtag “justicefor…” The unrest in our communities is reminiscent of protests of past generations, the cumulative frustrations from lack of true progress. Coincidently, as I painted this piece, my Alexa app announced that it was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s birthday and Alexa’s robotic, futuristic voice eloquently quoted “the past, the present, and the future are really one: they are today.”


Acrylic on black plastic lawn sign

Flip Side: Lauren Clayton, Woven

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