Conversation Peace: Mobile Public Art
By Garland Martin Taylor
July - August 2015
July - August 2015
Conversation Peace was a sculptural odyssey designed to spark public discourse about the disproportionate amount of gun violence and shooting fatalities in black and brown communities in Chicago and across the United States. I mounted a 400 lb. stainless steel gun sculpture into the bed of my pickup truck and drove it to cities across the U.S, many of which have struggled with gun violence and shooting fatalities throughout their histories. More than a mere image of a hand gun, this sculpture is a meditation on the more than 287 girls and boys under the age of twenty killed by gun violence between 2008 and the present. Stamped onto the steel is the name, age, and death date of victims from thirteen neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago: Chatham, Douglas, East Garfield Park, Englewood, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, New City, Oakland, South Chicago, South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn–all of which are in close proximity to Kenwood, the neighborhood in which I live and work. Using photography, video and sound recording equipment I captured viewer reaction not only to my sculpture, but to gun violence, art, politics, and race on this journey. Each stop along the way was accompanied by encounters with the general public, local artists, musicians, activists, journalists, and entrepreneurs. This project activated quotidian space by injecting conversations regarding the genealogy and current state of gun violence in addition to the role that art and other expressive cultures play in shaping images and conversations about nonviolence and social cohesion.
Photo Credit: Smita Parida
This project was made possible by the generous support of a 2014-2015 Mellon Collaborative Fellowship in Arts Practice at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, and anonymous patrons of the arts.