"100 Year Kinfolk"
acrylic on canvas
In 1920, Duluth, Minnesota three men, Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie (say their names) were lynched. In 2020 at 38th Ave S and Lake Street in Minneapolis four officers shared in another public lynching. That of George Floyd.
I created this piece to connect the then and now. The same disregard for black life that sowed itself on the darkness of that Duluth night was harvested again on the asphalt in Minneapolis, May 25th, 2020.
When I saw the video of "---" (I refuse to humanize that officer with a name) with it's knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd, I noticed the same set of eyes as I did when looking at (U.S.) historical picture of the Duluth lynching. A man in a bowler hat (about five men in from the right of photo), suit, grinning and hand in pocket; posed for the camera as if they just caught wild game.
The only humanity I saw in that picture and in the video of May 25th was that of the humans murdered.
100 Year Kinfolk: A Welcome Letter From Duluth to Minneapolis
We live here now
the three of us…
wafting between the leaves.
we remain to heal the branches.
They hurt/accessories to a crime
they were forced to do.
This is all connected as we are all natural.
The Blind men that brought us here, like
broken ornaments to hang on america’s tree,
are the same that
removed their relatives for “advancement”.
and now you dear George.
Have you seen the picture?
35-40 men smiling as if they were Cheshire cats
looking for dead mice/posed
for the picture where we were subjects.
Their eyes consumed our life/less state.
Now the roots after them begin necrotic and must find soul soils to grow in lands where the sun rises true.
They expected us to be dead.
Yet, now we write this to you.
There was a particular set of blue eyes that tawdry night. We noticed they relocated further south in Minnesota 100 years later on the face of the man(?) whose knee caressed
the intonation of your mother onto the urine
you released beneath the pig trough.
The curtains never closed on them
chest never moved/hand in pocket as if he was looking for the same lint as where he got his eyes from.
I write this to you my dear brother George for no other
Reason than to say we are related.
Welcome to the reunion.
Elias, Elmer and Isaac