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UTA Black Graphic Design Alumni Respond To BLM

ArtandSeek.net 5

Over the summer, when the George Floyd protests were playing out across the country, Pauline Hudel Smith decided to reach out to UTA’s Black graphic design alumni.

She wanted to know if they would be interested in responding to the protests by putting their own expressions and statements about the Black experience in a show.

Black Lives Matter. Sept. 15-Dec. 1. 502 S. Cooper St., Arlington. Details.

Smith is an Assistant Professor of Visual Communication area in the Art & Art History Department at the University of  Texas at Arlington.

She did not know what kind of response she would get. These are working professionals – busy working in their fields, busy with family, and processing what was going on in the streets and in the news.

Turns out the response was “super positive” with more than half of those contacted getting back to Smith.

Tino Izuora. “TinoGFX I Love Your Brand.” Statement: How I feel every time someone asks me “how do you feel?”

Smith gave the graphic artists a choice to submit work from their graphic design career or to create something new that relates to Black Lives Matter. Most opted to stick to the BLM topic.

Tolu Ajayi. “Safe Place.” Statement: As a black woman in America, where is my safe place when there’s always a target on my back?

The result is a show called “Black Lives Matter” and it’s currently on view at Gallery 295 on the UTA campus.

Anisha Garnett. “Black Love Matters, Til Death Due Us Part.” Statement: This illustration was created to raise more awareness for the importance of Black Love. With so much going on in the world, we never sit back and think about how this world is affecting black love. Some women have a fear of finding love, but just imagine finding your other half and then loosing them because they decided to go for a quick gas station run and an officer thought he matched a description. I want to remind everyone that police brutality doesn’t just affect the black man, it affects the black woman too.

Visitors to the small gallery, located on the 2nd floor of the Fine Arts building, can see 25 posters hanging on the walls.

For graphic designers, it’s all about messaging – creating visual content to communicate messages.

The messages on the posters and accompanying statements come from the artists’ own point of reference so they are intense and personal, said Smith.

Desiree Gibbs. “The Two-Toned Reality of Being Black in Amerikkka. ” Statement: *Trigger Warning* The words written on the right side contains a racial slur, cursing, and threats/violence. One main thing that comes to mind thinking about my life as a Black woman in this society is the exhausting duality I live in. here’s a dominating level of expectations and realities that reveal the complexities of various issues that I’ve had and have to deal with on the daily. Most of those are cited on the left. The right side represents what affects my health the most. Blatant hatred and racism are prominent in every corner of American society, but I decided to hyperfocus on words. Specifically cited are quotes from current and former cops, some from Dallas, directed at Black children, men, and women. This includes the responses of Officer Derek Chauvin to George Floyd as he said he couldn’t breathe as well as a nearby Aurora, Colorado officer to Elijah McClain as he repeatedly apologized during his unlawful arrest. Additionally, the sewn lips represent the forced silence of my voice, the golden ears refer to the high priced value of Black pain people love to make money off of, and the cursive words are a few of the hurtful conclusions that find their way into my ears through experienced microaggressions and my interactions with others. My most important advice: Protect your peace and your mind. You are worthy no matter what. You are enough. Just because this is the reality we live in, does not mean we deserve it. We deserve so…much…better! And you deserve friends and family that support you and love you through it all no ifs, ands, or buts! Periodt.

“This exhibit is just really authentic and original. I probably put together 100 shows and this is probably one of the most important ones I put together.”

“Black Lives Matter” can be seen on-site during school hours Monday through Friday and can be viewed online on the Art + Art History department’s website.

Got a tip? Email Gila Espinoza at gespinoza@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @espinoza_kera.

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