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  • Writer's pictureApril Gavin

Compliance: Lives That Matter

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

This started as a drawing a few years ago resulting from the death of Eric Garner. There were a number of black men killed that same week/month by police. Eric Garner stuck with me as he was strangled to death. His alleged crime - selling loose cigarettes. In short, not a crime worth dying for under any circumstances.

This piece is small barely eleven inches square. I'm not sure where the textile came from, but my purpose is pointed in using it this way. Underneath the thin veneer of society, these actions are allowed to happen. It leads me down the road of other ways we comply in our society. What else uncivilized do we allow to happen while looking the other way?

I am countering the mental depth of this work with trace monotypes and other media. Every morning after Scout's walk, I journal in pen and watercolor what happened on our walk. Over the last five months, I've become proficient at drawing myself and Scout though mainly as cartoon characters. I attempted this portrait of us. I like it. Scout isn't too sure.

As part of my morning journal, a lot of crows show up. So, I have gotten proficient drawing crows from memory too. This crow portrait showed up one day in my studio and I love her. I hope you enjoy her too. She does look like she's sticking out her tongue at me.

Shout Outs

Susan Hudson shares why she made her quilt Tears of Our Children/Tears from our Children. She is a Navajo (Dine') quilt maker. In this video she talks about her mother's abduction and time in a boarding school. The pain is evident in her voice as she describes the ordeal her mother went through. As we hear on the news, many mass graves are being found at former boarding school sites where indigenous children were imprisoned. The body count is up to 1,585 children. Some folks have told me that they feel frustrated or sad when they hear this news. I feel blessed that indigenous cultures survived at all with that level of brutality aimed at them. If you watch this video and feel anything, educate yourself on what you can do now.

Sarah Swett was an award winning tapestry weaver and then she shifted to do something else. As she tells it, the stories started to come too fast. Tapestry is an amazing slow medium so I can't blame her for switching to sewing and cartoons. I've always loved her art style and the emphasis she places on good drawing.

Gil Scott-Heron was one of those names I had always heard, but had never explored. If you click on the link, you'll get a song he wrote in 1969 called Whitey on the Moon. It sums up how I feel about the current vanity space race of billionaires.

I've started moving slowly into the world. Somethings feel safe and familiar and some things - well, let's just say that I haven't made a dentist appointment yet. See you soon.


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