Heavy statements of the day. Michael D'Antuono's art and response to the Trayvon Martin case. I haven't said much about the headline because it seems that everyone has an opinion about it- as they should. I do agree with the broader message of this painting that there is an underlying systematic violence against minorities especially blacks and latinos within law enforcement, government, and overall inherited social cues that are wired in some more than others. Obviously Zimmerman was an example of the latter. Even though Zimmerman wasn't actually a cop I think this painting is able to depict a broader message, that even portrays Trayvon as significantly more child like in stature and expression. Zimmerman was 5'9" while Trayvon was 6' or 6'3". The childish nature of Trayvon in this painting further comments on America's role and identity as the "white savior" to those "who can not defend themselves". Ironically, even if it means we have to kill said victims.
Of course those who can not defend themselves are defined by the media, lobbyists, politicians, lawmakers, and general bullshit practitioners that plague society who foster class disparity and educational disparity. And while these industry figures influence society at a larger scale level, it is the average Joe that enforces these ideologies and sometimes violent resolutions at street level. When all the parts come together it acts as one finely oiled machine that you can easily forget is there if you are usually not affected by inequalities in general. Of course you don't have to be Black or Latino to be able to experience inequality in the United States.
Here and there I will post things from the past, youtubes that reflect both urban and rural Americana. The good and the bad. I also like watching movies like Mississippi Burning that reflect on America's shameful history as dangerously ignorant and destructive killers. This singular event reminds me of the Emmett Till case and even though it occurred in 1955, if somebody can still stalk, shoot, and kill somebody based on their own entitlement can remain legally unpunished is appalling and disgusting to say the least. Even as recently as 2 hours ago, Zimmerman is being released from prison. What does this say about America in 2012? People try so hard to convince others that racism doesn't exist, yet this guy gets to avoid jail after killing somebody? Race or no race, Obama or no Obama, there is something fundamentally wrong and RACIST about the justice system and those who enforce it. There is something fundamentally wrong and RACIST about the kind of mindset and socialization that allows people like Zimmerman to feed off their stereotypes of young black men to justify stalking, shooting, and killing in the first place.
Whether or not he was a full fledged racist I have no idea- I don't know him. I will tell you who is a racist, that Norweigan mass murderer Anders Behring. So when compared to Anders, Zimmerman doesn't actually strike me as a full on white power kind of guy- but he is guilty of probably putting race before reason. And when you put race before reason you usually end up getting called a racist. Especially if you kill somebody based on that train of logic. Unfortunately America is riddled with race related murders and hate crimes. Blacks on black, black on white, blackwhite on whiteblack, blackwhite on white, blackwhite on black, white on black, brown on brown, brown on black, black on brown, brown on white, white on brown, white on white, yellow on yellow, yellow on white, yellow on brown, yellow on black, black on yellow, brown on yellow, and other colors and endless combinations of all those known colors that are probably not politically correct to use but that give America the unparalleled diversity it has. Whether or not we can escape a country with a historically violent culture that is further stimulated and encouraged by our collective ideologies and practices is a question that is answered by the sound of George Zimmerman making bond and walking out of that Florida court house.
"As an art student in the seventies Michael D'Antuono studied in New York and Paris. He quickly got work in the advertising industry eventually becoming an art director for the NY ad agency Darcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles. There he created award winning television campaigns, one of which continued to run for 20 years. He also had a successful career as an illustrator for 25 years. His artwork has been featured in such prestigious publications as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and is proudly displayed in the private collection of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Severe tendonitis left Michael no longer able to continue with his illustration career."
Finally was able to visit my maternal side's hometown of Taishan also known as Toisan, in Guangdong. Took a train to Guangzhou. Guangzhou has a population that has exceeded 16 million. Some say 20 million. Whereas Taishan has a population of about more stray dogs than actual people.
Neighbors to my grandparent's old house. These chickens were hiding in this make shift coop. They've got super pronounced chicken legs- Foghorn Leghorn style.
Hot on their trail. Chicken run
Entrance to the old house. The man on the left is 80 years old and has been hired by my family to sweep this place every year during tomb sweeping day.
An entourage of people, family and not, who ended up coming on this trip for some reason. Not exactly an exciting expedition for those who have no reason to go to a practically deserted village.
Needless to say, looking around in this old house was like visiting colonial Williamsburg. Of course the time period is different, but this place was practically a museum. Looking at a stove that was still run by coal is like looking at the wheel being invented. Really humbling to see it.
People were picking up different things used for farming or harvesting. From what information I gathered, the men on my mom's side who initially took boats to America sold coal and later worked on farms in California as well.
The art of room dividers. It's infrastructural details like these that identify geography and time.
An ancestral shrine of sorts to pay respects, that has been untouched for quite a few decades.
The man to the right is ( I think if translation serves me right ) my great great grandfather who was the first to travel to the United States. The one on the left is my grandfather's brother who passed in a motorcycle accident at a young age. I imagine that photo was taken in the 30's or 40's. My great great grandfather looks all business. Beyond crazy to see his photo for the first time ever.
So many bird cages- not sure what the story is with that. Activities of yesteryear? Everybody needs a hobby.
Not sure what the story of these stashed jugs are. Dust covered crypt.
"Until the 1960s, two-thirds of all overseas Chinese, like my family, originated from this one small region. It was poor and over-populated during the 19th century and very close to Guangzhou, where the foreign powers first penetrated China. Thus it was a fertile recruiting ground for the “coolies” who built the American transcontinental railroad, and for the generations who emigrated to become restaurant workers and laundrymen.
A window to my grandparent's former home. I bet those shutters have seen a lot.
Welcoming committee. I wanted to bring this little guy home so bad!
Brothers and sisters
There is a nearby city where a lot of people live and have gone to find jobs. The rest I guess are probably scattered across the globe.
It's funny to think so many of America's first immigrants came from this tiny area in China. To think one guy from here went to America and came back and told all his friends of a "Golden Mountain" with promises of fortune and luck. The spark that would lead generations of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. It's really the story of the world. Opportunity. Work. A better future.
Little old lady killing it. It was pretty cool to hear people speaking my grandmother's dialect. It was like little grandmas everywhere!
Best family house caretaker ever! He remembered the names of some relatives a few generations back and now I have some family bread crumbs to research