Art has for centuries been used to portray political, economic and cultural themes. It is through the art objects that artists add their voice to issues that are of interest to the society. The case is no different for the objects on view in the New York at its Core Exhibition. The objects capture various issues that are of interest to the contemporary New York society. The issues captured in the images revolve around Islam-phobia, racism, and bigotry.
Unfortunately, photos wasn’t allowed. But I’ll try to describe.
The object Tactics Old and New shows an elderly man and a young lady in the street of New York. The two are holding placards which exemplify the two aspects of love and unity in New York. The young lady is holing a placard with the word “love thy neighbor”; New York is a city with millions of people and the need for them to love each other underscores their existence. The message in the placard is amplified by the way in which it is written in capital letters. A neighbor in New York can be anyone as in the case of the object, the young lady’s neighbor is the elderly man. The young lady has turned the image to face the man to show that she indeed loves him as his neighbor. In general, campaigns about loving our neighbors have been across New York in an effort to get people to have some tolerance towards each other.
The placard held by the elderly man, on the other hand also exemplifies the themes of racism and bigotry in New York. According to Muo, racism is something that New York has been struggling with in the past, and is still is in the contemporary world. The message on the placard is clear, the man is advocating for unity; he wants the end of racism and bigotry. New York is a diverse city that is made up of populations from different racial backgrounds. Some of the races particularly the African Americans and the Native Americans face racism more often than their counterparts and this bring out the need to address the issue. Bigotry will often become an issue when there are diverse opinions because some people will tend to be intolerant to others opinions. The need to end this and racism is underscored through the placards.
At the same time, the image captures the ways in which activists in contemporary New York have tried to address the issue of racism and bigotry. The awareness of these issues is raised in public debates, conferences and issuance of press releases. Further, activists have also produced t-shirts, flyers, posters and stickers. All these strategies are aimed at raising public awareness on the issues of racism and bigotry.
Color prejudice is often an unquestioned emotional attachment to a falsehood regarding someone who has a different appearance. Notably, the notion of race can be perceived as fiction. Race does not have any foundations either biologically as well as genetically, but it a social construct that was generated by human beings to categorize their society. In America, particularly after the election of Barack Obama as president, it was contended by many that a post-racial America was imminent. However, this has not yet been realized as many cities around the U.S including New York still struggle with the issue of racism.
However, despite the hopes nurtured in the election of Obama as the president, racism is still alive and well. According to Katwe and Goodmanz, racism pervades American social life as well as institutions. In New York City, some of the most important racial inequalities, as well as racial events, include overly harsh and racially patterned disciplinary policies in schools, racial gaps in access to conventional mortgages. Some notable events include the defacement and hanging of a noose on a campus statue of James Meredith, the University of Mississippi’s first black student; and the demise of Jordan Smith, a black young man murdered by a white folk because of playing loud hip-hop.
The image has a compelling effect on its viewers; it urges one to acknowledge the fact that we only have one race, the human race. Therefore accepting the concept of one race can also be viewed as part of racial healing as well as the diminishment of trauma. Moreover, the image suggests that individuals should seek to transform and become one with others. A person should treat another as brothers and sites and act in a manner that cannot bring harm to them. Ultimately, we can be able to experience the reality of another person’s life through education of the heart and mind. According to Ponds, education of the mind entails rethinking the whole concept of race as well as gaining a historical perception of racism. The two activists in the image use placards with simple messages of unity and love while discouraging people from racism and bigotry. In general, the image captures the issue of racism in a way that provokes the viewers to think about the social issue in new ways, and the role they can play in addressing the vice.
Conclusively, the object Tactics Old and New captures and exemplifies the aspects of racism and bigotry that New York has been struggling with. Indeed, as the placard held by the young lady shows we should “love thy neighbor”. The love will in the end strengthen the New York society.