‘Capital Art’ display exposes prison experience

by Christian A. Lopez
Staff Writer

When entering the Track 16 gallery at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station, one cannot help but get a sense of eeriness at the various displays of graphic paintings, photographs, and videos that instantaneously scream out in the “Capital Art” exhibition.

Perhaps it is the fact that the issues dealt with in this in your face art exhibition-political oppression, racism, discrimination, police brutality and social problems-are the cries heard in every day life.

More than 40 artists collaborated in the exhibition in dedication of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former journalist who was put in jail in 1981 after being convicted of shooting a police officer in Philadelphia, Pa.

Some of the artists include Pedro Alvarez, John Valadez, Sandow Birk, Malaquias Montoya, MEAR ONE, Vicente Razo, Robbie Conal, Femi Dawkins, Salomon Huerta and SPIE.

An explicit piece called “Tres Caballeros” by Salomon Huerta shows an outraged group of Latin American jailmates who have escaped on wild horses.

They are viciously spearing a herd of pigs and animals which are symbolic of the police force and agencies that have tried to destroy them by falsely accusing them and throwing them in a jail cell.

In a piece by Dread Scott called, “Historic Connections,” Scott uses an electric chair surrounded by four mechanically-triggered police batons that leave a thumping sound vibrating in your ears along with live sounds of a police radio and dispatchers who summon officers to the scene of a call.

In front, there is a transparent picture of young African-American male faces in their neighborhoods; which are held up by two steel bars that are portrayed as a jail cell. In the background, displayed is a mob burning an African-American man.

In another piece done by graffiti artist COAX, a police officer dressed in riot gear is trying to silence a brown-skinned man by striking him with his baton. In response the man blows the officers head off with a gun. The piece is reflective of the anger one feels sometimes when an authoritative figure has tried to forcefully silence someone when there is the right to speak.

Along with the displays of “Capital Art,” they will be holding other performances tonight. A special legal panel of lawyers tomorrow will discuss capital punishment, and various as-pects on the culture of punishment.

For more information on “Capital Art,” call (310) 264-4678.

Latest Stories

Related articles