One month after Mike Brown’s body laid uncovered in the streets of Ferguson, illustrator Patrick Campbell took to canvas and painted a new American flag: the old flag turned vertically, trails of red watercolor form nooses, from which human figures hang. ‘The New Age of Slavery’ is a disturbing and visceral reminder of America’s perpetual cycle of state-sanctioned violence against black Americans. And while images of hanged bodies juxtaposed against postcolonial nationalism harken back to slavery and Jim Crow, the sound of Eric Garner begging for air, the sight of Walter Scott’s fleeing back, and the story of Aiyana Jones cause the line between past and present to blur into one.
“This was a piece originally done because I was sick of the African American death that has been occurring too much with Travyon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner and many more, due to… the government not caring! As African Americans, what is our life worth? As a people we SHOULD NOT be afraid of our government.”
Campbell’s painting will be on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture when it opens it’s doors in 2016.
By Erin White, AFROPUNK contributor
Photo above: ‘The New Age of Slavery’
Photo above: Untitled
Photo above: ‘Blood on our Hands