Art is My Activism

Art is My Activism

(Originally published August 5, 2020)

When I began my #putartintheyard project my sole intention was to give walkers a giggle, a smile, a pause for thought, a snippet of beauty during this uncertain, unprecedented, scary pandemic. Then the pandemic grew into much more. I struggle/struggled with my response to the reality of Black Lives Matter, with my despair that we still aren't a country of justice and equality, and with the fact that I sit with privilege by virtue of my birth and history. What are the things I can do to effect change? What have I done, what will I do now? What do I need to learn? What do I need to change about my own behavior? I was raised in a family that celebrates diversity. I married a man and raised two kids who do the same. I vote for justice, equality, humanity. But I know we all must be on high-alert to our own prejudices, that our communities and policies and infrastructures are frought with inequity. I try to learn and grow every day. Be better every day. And, well, I've cried a lot. I do realize this is not about me.

On June 1st I began making the Peace Lily. It was my response to George Floyd's murder - and so many others, to the protests, to our nation's history, a sort of witness to reality. It's a bit oblique, maybe, as a symbol. But it is about Peace in the grand sense. I never want to misappropriate Black Lives Matter messages or images or intentions. But I do want to stand in league, alongside. And art is the most authentic way I can do that.

The Peace Lily was the final of 15 paintings I did for #putartinyouryard, first round. It seemed respectful at that point to take a pause and recalibrate. My next 'yard art' paintings will encompass Black Lives Matter and I'm taking time to consider imagery, how I can relate messages through my paintbrushes that are appropriate.

Art is my Activism. I hope to give you beauty and peace.

Stay safe, everyone, and take care of one another.

Laura King

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