Jail Bed Drop
72" x 75"
For the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve in 2017, I worked to transform a jail bed as part of Justice LA's #jailbeddrop art project. JusticeLA, in partnership with other organizations working with directly impacted communities, was formed to reclaim, reimagine and reinvest what L.A. County could do with the $3.2 billion allocated to building two new jails. 50 artists came together in a shared studio space in DTLA to create artworks that would be dropped in cities around L.A. County on Christmas Eve, as a reminder of the thousands of people incarcerated in L.A. County jails during the holidays.
When I first saw the jail beds lined up in the studio, I was unsettled by the uniformity and rigidity of them. I had an impulse to break through the rigidity with something organic and growing. I splintered parts of the wood and wove branches and hand-made paper flowers through the breakages in the bed. This image functions as a symbol, evoking the idea of abolition and transformation of systems. The two narrower sides of the bed are chalkboard walls with hand lettered writing. One has a statistic about the LA County Jail system being the largest in the world - grounding this piece in the local campaign to end the County's $3.5B jail plan. The other asks viewers to reimagine the possibilities of the County budget and what that money could be used to grow instead. Viewers are encouraged to write their answers with chalk, adding to the piece and deepening the conversation.
Check out the Justice LA campaign here for ways to get involved.