May Day! May Day! “Manifest Justice” opens with an artist reception May 1 and to the public May 2 through May 10 for over a week of activism and art that calls for justice across society while addressing racism, sexism, economic and social ills–a large-scale pop-up art exhibition, cultural convening, and community organizing event featuring 150 artists from across the United States, plus daily programming–over 25 events–including poetry, music, panels and theater that address themes of social justice. This creative community exhibition is designed elevate and illuminate the ongoing conversation of race, implicit bias, and lack of access in our country, specifically in low income areas.
Manifest Justice takes places at the historic Baldwin Hills Theater, which owner John Karubian has repurposed into a community center, with offices for APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles), Planned Parenthood, T.H.E Clinic, institutional banking, dentists and other vital neighborhood businesses. The theater itself was where many Angelenos across the decades saw classic films, a place people came to engage and be entertained and, organizers hope it will be once again, even just for a little while.
Yosi Sergant, one of the event organizers, explained:
Our goals are wide and many—we hope to inspire artists from around the globe to pick up their pens and their microphones, their paintbrushes and their tap shoes in the name of human rights. We hope to help give life to those who feel unheard, to their frustrations that continue to mount, to the solutions that people have yet to find, and to to inspire radical dreaming of possibilities. Ultimately, our goal is to connect the artists, the activists and the communities—this connection helps in driving real change and solutions emerge.
The free art show with related free community events is open through May 10. Manifest Justice took six months to plan and includes over 250 pieces of art which the team has spent hours plotting, hanging, re-plotting and re-hanging to create an inspiring environment. Via email, artist Jesse Hazelip explains his involvement:
I was flattered and honored to be asked to participate in the Manifest/Justice exhibition alongside many talented and conscientious artists. Art activism can be a lonely place when most of the art world seems fixated on merely decorating the 1%’s living rooms with superficiality. Manifest/Justice has compiled an amazing exhibition with many artists i respect and who contribute to the pursuit of questioning the status quo.
Hazelip is joined by Augustine Kofie, Bash, Saber, Sandow Birk, Hank Willis Thomas, Swoon, Andrea Bowers, Nancy Chunn, Lyle Ashton Harris, Damon Locks, Maya Hayuk, Sage Vaughn, Shepard Fairey, Cryptik, Robbie Conal, and over a hundred other artists (including winners of the Manifest Justice art contest which drew entries from across the United States) in what is destined to be one of the most most pivotal and important art and community events this year.
Amnesty International/Art for Amnesty and the California Endowment’s Sons and Brothers program are presenting partners for Manifest Justice, and community partners include a wide coalition of organizations, foundations and businesses.
Opening reception May 1
Open to public May 2 to 10 (free)
3727-3745 South La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Sat & Sun: 10-4 & 6-10
Sat & Sun: 10-4 & 6-10
Jesse Hazelip, Prayer. Hazelip says: Prayer is a part of my series about the prison industrial complex in the United States. The skeletal hands reference the reach of death throughout the prison system, and how a short sentence could easily become a death sentence due to the extreme violence prisoners are subjected to while incarcerated. Durer’s praying hands are referenced because many prisoners turn to religion as a last resort of desperation, and have the iconic image tattooed. I added handcuffs because of the obvious relationship, but also because of the forced nature of the system as a whole. Jail isn’t an option for many minorities, but more of an inevitability.
Michael D’Antuono, The Talk, one of the five Manifest Justice contest winners, selected by the panel of judges including Shepard Fairey, John Legend (singer-songwriter), Franklin Sirmans (Curator, Contemporary Art, LACMA), Russell Simmons (co-founder Def Jam Records), Maria Lopez De Leon (Executive Director, National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures), Ann Burroughs (Chair of Board, Amnesty International USA), Jeff Chang (Executive Director, The Institute for Diversity in the Arts), Dr. Robert K Ross (President, The California Endowment) and Carroll Wells (Executive Director, Center for Political Graphics)