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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE staffer sheds light on struggle with police brutality

SE+staffer+sheds+light+on+struggle+with+police+brutality

By Misti DeHart and Ross Ocampo

An art exhibit that expresses the struggles of African-Americans in today’s society is showing in NW Campus’ Lakeview Gallery.

Bullet Points, Christopher BlayPhotos by Antonio Giovanni Soresh/The Collegian
Bullet Points, Christopher Blay
Photos by Antonio Giovanni Soresh/The Collegian

“Cos N!&&@#$ Can’t Breathe,” an exhibit created by SE art instructional assistant and curator Christopher Blay, considers the frustration and asphyxiation of African-Americans in contemporary society resulting from centuries of unresolved issues of race, justice and equality.

Blay’s motivation for the exhibit was the feeling of being overwhelmed by recent reports of unarmed African-Americans deaths.

“It’s examining the situation of African-Americans killed by police in the past 20 years.” Blay said. “It’s a retelling of these stories to mark this moment in time as an artist.”

NW art associate professor Winter Rusiloski, a colleague of Blay’s and a self-professed “friend and super fan,” curated the exhibit.

“I let him know that I’d seen that he had gotten some recent awards and grants and would he do a show for NW?” she said.

The exhibit pays tribute to recent national events, such as Blay’s creation of an iron lung, a reference to the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old African-American who died after being put in a chokehold by a New York police officer.

“It is frustrating, seeing all the reports constantly. It’s like the list of unarmed African-Americans killed by police grows everyday,” said NE student Frank O’Dell. “This exhibit is really chilling, but it’s a message that students need to receive.”

Other pieces of the exhibit show the depiction of gunshot wounds where Blay used coroners’ reports as sources for the work.

“It’s a really powerful exhibit,” said NW student Amber Neumann. “I’m glad I got to see this message being conveyed in such a way here at TCC. I’ve seen other people stop by and take their time to look around.”

Blay said Garner’s death at the hands of police is an analogy of how African-Americans overall are treated. “I feel that culturally this is a voice that has to be represented — how we as an African-American community are being constricted, both literally and metaphorically,” he said.

Blay explained that, while the curator or owner of a space generally knows the theme and sometimes the materials being used, he, himself, often doesn’t even know the final look for a project.

“I’m more organic. There are usually things going in [the space] partially constructed, but the rest is almost always on site,” he said.

Blay’s exhibit will run in the Lakeview Gallery until Feb. 26.

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