The idea for this project came from the track by Lincoln Park “WISDOM, JUSTICE, & LOVE” from the A THOUSAND SUNS album. It revolves around a speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. (for lyrics and actual music go to www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/linkinpark/wisdomjusticeandlove.html Listen closely to the track and you can hear how it progresses down to dark, gritty, and ominous tone, the voice of King being reduced to thick, mechanized rumble, and the overall message of anti-war sentiment in the speech. The speech was made back in 1967 during the peak of Vietnam War, which had been one of the most controversial issues of that time, but it still holds true today with all the violence in the Middle East and the threat of nuclear apocalypse looming from both sides of earth, and on top of that, the growing fear and loathing of our neighbors in our own backyard. I’m speaking of racism and the anti-Semitic effigy directed at the Muslim communities. Racism has been the core of King’s mission, and led to one of the most powerful speeches ever presented at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. I’m speaking of the “I Have A Dream” speech, dated August 28, 1963, at the height of the American Civil Rights Movement. A full actual footage of the speech can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I47Y6VHc3Ms
Since then a slow but steady progress has been made to bridge the gaps between the races and extend equal rights to every man woman and child regardless of race, sex, religion, and beliefs. But sadly that bridge is eroding, having started with the election of U.S. first black president and becoming accelerated with the election of the loud-mouthed rich buffoon with the capital T. If it should continue down on this path, King’s dream of peaceful united world will eventually be a faint echo in our sordid world history.
And this part is what I had tried to visualize in this 5-part piece which features the portrait of King done with handmade stencils and spray paint. I decided to show each piece in several stages of erosion by distressing with earthly paint tones and burning with a micro-torch, embellished with some eerie streak of bloodlike red. I was working on this piece at a park and had to constantly look over my shoulders to make sure no one would pass by and see me “vandalizing” this historic figure and get the bad impression about it (and in worst case get a lynching 😛 ). No I’m in no way disrespecting the man, but I am “mourning” dissolution of his dream. And I’m sure there are many out there who will share my sentiment. But Hope is a powerful force, and we will pray and work hard to make sure the Dream does not disappear forever.