When it comes to asking questions and making you think, there are an endless array of art topics to choose from.

This week’s art question is one that might make you angry. It might make you cry. Hell, it better make you think.

I found a thought provoking artist who likes to color outside the lines. His name is David Hammons.

With his example, I want to make you think. I hope that his art work speaks to you in ways that can’t be explained.

As Apsara DiQuinzio said, “It hardly seems insignificant that Hammons started making his first mature works of art, his body prints, in 1968—one of the most violent, politically charged years in recent American history: Martin Luther King was assassinated, President Nixon was elected, and protests against the Vietnam War reached unprecedented levels, escalating in the U.S. with the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.”

David Hammons
David Hammons

David is an artist who uses his own body covered in baby oil and presses it against his canvas and then creates amazing art with an even more profound message.

It is a message many want to ignore.

In fact, fellow artist Lorraine O’Grady believes that “Hammons tries to make art in which white people can’t see themselves.”

Take a moment to look at his art below. 

One art piece Hammons created titled “Black Boy’s Window” (1968) is a silhouetted image of hands, face and torso pressed to a window with bars.

This painting illustrates that minorities have the desire to be ’let in’ and also have an equally strong desire to be ’let out’.

Both are equally poignant.

“Black Boy’s Window” (1968)
“Black Boy’s Window” (1968) – Hammons

My thought provoking question for you this week is, does this young man want to be let in?

Or is he begging to be released from the proverbial shackles many people are kept in at the hands of racism? 

Fellow artist and icon, Aretha Franklin said, “I believe that the black revolution certainly forced me and the majority of black people to begin taking a second look at ourselves. It wasn’t that we were all that ashamed of ourselves, we merely started appreciating our natural selves . . . sort of, you know, falling in love with ourselves just as we are. We found that we had far more to be proud of. So I suppose the revolution influenced me a great deal, but I must say that mine was a very personal evolution — an evolution of the me in myself.”

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This statement and her fight for equality, paired with the messages David Hammons’  is sending through his art are messages the world needs to hear. 

Art doesn’t always have to ‘push the envelope’.

It doesn’t have to involve ethics or morals but when it does, we need to listen. When people take a stand and say the hard things, we need to make sure it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

So, please, share with me your thoughts.

Help us at Her Blaze answer the nagging question. Is this young man trying to escape or is he begging to be let in?

As Kevin Hart said, “the day you stop doing the small things is the day you think you’re above everyone else.”

Supporting artists who use their art to send difficult messages is an example of those small things.

So, find that artist, the one who sends the message you resonate with and support them! Don’t sit back and say nothing.

Remember, it takes a village. 

Thank You for reading Her Blaze Blog!

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