The Frontline Art Exhibition tour made its stop in Chicago recently. The exhibition was held at the South Side Community Arts Center. The panel consisted of individuals from various walks of life who gathered to discuss issues plaguing the Black community. Police brutality and community organization served as the main talking points.
This event was created by singer, songwriter and activist Steff Reed; according to Reed via his website, “Frontline Art Exhibition is a visual art, music, film and activist effort, with the aim of using the arts and robust dialogue to highlight police brutality, gang violence and systematic anti-blackness.”
Reed and Bay Area hip-hop artist and activist Marlon “Unlearn the World” Richardson curated the event. The theme of the night was “The new Jim Crow.” Topics such as the especially relevant murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the five police officers killed in Dallas were addressed. The discussion was spirited and direct. The sense in the room was that communities must organize and effect change themselves.
“The importance of events like these is for the Black community and communities of color at large to fellowship around art and have a platform to discuss and create viable solutions to the issues we’ve been dealing with for years. Therefore, marching and yelling has only taken us so far. Let’s give people art to remember what it is to be human,” said Richardson.
Artist, educator and activist Dionne Victoria shared a few of her thoughts. “I was thinking about ways to become an interruptor and it came to me that whatever I interrupt I can’t be a afraid of losing. Fear will stop you in your tracks and disable you. Having the fortitude to move forward without fear is difficult but we have to, for ourselves, for our family, for our friends and community. Bring the money back to our neighborhood; put it towards the schools, the public entities in our zip code. Raise the police force in the neighborhood they will serve. Use our money to put our political leaders in power like Harold Washington. Make sure to ensure family on the block. Stabilize and minimize movement to create bonds in the neighborhood. Treat each other like family. Take care of ourselves but always find ways to work together,” she said.