This summer while I was knee deep in James Baldwin's essays and doing research for my first digital exhibition, Burn Baby Burn I came across the work of L.A. artist/graphic designer Katie Wohl. As the nation jumped from shock to horror from news of the deaths of Freddie Gray, Walter Scott and Sandra Bland, to regular reports of police brutality to mass shootings, each tragedy revealed deep schisms in perception and beliefs regarding inequality, racism and gun control. Those schisms have positioned us in a collective emotional impasse that thwarts progress and constructive action. That reluctance to meet an issue head on manifests itself in very subtle ways, particularly in our own social circles.
Wohl's Black Voices series was inspired in 2014 after she saw differences in social media's reaction to the death of Michael Brown. Among caucasian friends in her social media circle, there was a reluctance to address Brown's death or the subsequent Ferguson riots, while at the same time Facebook friends were overwhelmingly embracing viral campaigns like the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.
Wohl decided to channel her frustration with this disparity in response by bringing attention to police brutality to her social circle through her art. In Black Voices she created a series of prints featuring graphic silhouettes of victims containing embedded quotes from black writers including Ida B Wells, Zora Neale Hurston and Bell Hooks. Prints and tee shirts from the series are currently being sold by the artist and all profits from sales are going to the National Police Accountability Project.
For more examples of Katie's work, please check out the TONDI Gallery.