Pigeons are Black Doves is among a series of banners multidisciplinary artist Cauleen Smith created in response to the proliferation of videotaped shootings of black men and youths. Smith produced the series after the killing of Tamir Rice, a twelve-year old African American boy shot by a Cleveland police officer in 2014. Trying to give voice to her outrage and despair, Smith started jotting down phrases and mantras into her sketchbook. These ultimately became the inspiration for her banners, which were to be used in a procession-style performance with specially commissioned gospel music.
Reflecting on her work as a form of activism, Smith has said: What I hope my work is capable of is for individuals, it’s for just any one person. If there’s just enough of an opening in them that they think about themselves or the world, or just think—and not even think differently, but just think for a moment. Just contemplate. Just open up a little bit—then I’ve done my job.
Click the link below to learn more about Smith’s piece and find inspiration to create your own form of artistic activism to raise awareness for the urgent need for racial and social justice.
Pigeons are Black Doves (from "In the Wake"), 2017
Textile, sequins, acrylic paint