Provocative, Powerful, Relevant
Kin Killin' Kin, the centerpiece of the Library's two-month Stand4Peace initiative, is a visually powerful exhibit composed of graphic images created by James Pate, one of the most important African American artists in the United States. His work addresses one of the critical social issues of our time - the epidemic of youth violence in the African-American community. The exhibit is his personal statement that art can be an agent for change and a visual call-to-action to find positive alternatives and solutions to negative behavior.
During Stand4Peace, the Kin Killin' Kin exhibit is presented as homage to the city's 2014 homicide victims, and as a catalyst to initiate discourse on local issues and interaction through wrap-around activities. Students will respond with their own poems, art and music shared through podcasts and video, visitors can leave a tribute to victims of violence and individuals can express their views in the Public Comments section below. ... read the full letter
Jackie Nytes, CEO The Indianapolis Public Library
Dorothy Crenshaw, President The Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees
The concept of using art to compare Black-on-Black terrorism to the terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan came from conversations among us in the black community. It is often said that we (African Americans) are doing the business of the KKK with our Black-on-Black violence. The number of blacks murdered by other blacks since Civil War Reconstruction far exceeds those who were lynched by whites. Sadly, this pattern continued year after year, and still continues today. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 1976 to 2000, 94 percent of black homicide victims in America were killed by other blacks.
I was moved to use art as a means of illustrating this tragedy; complete with black brothers in pointed hoods creating acts of violence in the "hood." Every piece that I complete is a way of accepting some of the responsibility for these acts of violence. Every piece is a moment of silence and dedication to the people who have had to deal personally with our losses.
Kin Killin' Kin is a powerful and thought-provoking series of images that reflect artist James Pate's deep love for our youth and great concern for the epidemic of youth violence in the African American community. Pate is a master visual artist who has directed his artistic vision to the issue of youth violence because it is one of the most critical social ills of our time.
When Pate and I began discussing the possibility of this special exhibit in 2008, I was reminded of when I was in high school and studied artists whose works depicted subjects beyond the traditional landscapes, still lifes, and portraits to convey commentary on social issues. I was deeply moved by Pablo Picasso's Guernica, Francisco Goya's The Third of May, 1808, Käthe Kollwitz's compelling prints, and the powerful images of African American master artists Charles White and Hale Woodruff.