What They Last Saw

2019 - Light Art Installation

What They Last Saw is an evocative piece examining homicides by police personnel and the horror unleashed on victims of their violence. A 48” x 60” square of asphalt hangs on the wall appearing as a piece of city street uprooted and wall-mounted. A pedestal rests before the asphalt. Police flashlights upon the pedestal reflect off of ceiling-mounted mylar panels, evoking siren light, splashing red and blue across the asphalt. The mylar material of the ceiling panels creates an aethereal, web-like pattern within the light – something angelic and moving seen within it - something like the retold recollections of those returning from near death. These two semi-familiar forms of light contrast into an aesthetic beauty if viewed from the abstract - one that combines with the dimensional space within the asphalt, and signals toward promised rest in the hereafter. Still, the abstract does not dispel the horror and loss-filled reality and familiarity that the siren colors conjure. The police flashlights, serving as co-opted tools of the perpetrators, reflect and bounce off the asphalt in gravel pieces as evidence of violence wrought. No “they” are named in the piece, for the sight of the sirens and the asphalt is knowledge enough for us to know of those lost. Their names are etched in our minds – etched by injustice, etched in racially biased violence perpetuated by those sworn to protect. In What They Last Saw, a simple and abstract scene of a city street bathed in aethereal red and blue light now evokes for so many a scene of familiar fear, horror, and loss.

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