What is an artist to do in these difficult and dangerous times? Sign petitions? Donate money? Write to newspapers? Done, done and done. But every morning, I am devastated anew by the realization of who currently occupies the White House. Several days into the new administration I was overtaken by a horrific premonition of where the president’s repulsive rhetoric could lead. In the space of two days, I painted the large canvas below. I thought perhaps I was too doomsday-ish, and I did not attempt to exhibit the piece.
Unfortunately, that was no mere premonition. My painting depicts what many people are feeling in the wake of recent events in Charlottesville and the political fallout. Hundreds of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying burning torches, spewing hatred and brandishing nazi salutes. Clashes with anti-hate groups resulted in the tragic death of a young woman, and ultimately the outing of the president’s true beliefs (no surprise there).
August’s TIME cover had a similar theme to the painting I completed seven months ago.
Artists all over the country and the world are picking up their brushes and their tools to protest this nightmarish period. I applaud my peers who give voice to their protest, and the audiences who look, listen and take heart.