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At 11×14, “Rosa” is made of spray paint, acrylic paint, balsa and bass wood, and collage on wood block.
Rosa Parks was a monumental figure in the civil rights movement of the 60’s. We continue to use the template that figures like herself, and others of the movement left for us, to fight against racial inequality and injustice today.
This particular depiction of Rosa is her mugshot from the 60s. The scenes depicted in her jacket are those of the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement in the 60s, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement of today.
There is an enso in the back of Rosa. The enso represents enlightenment. The meaning of the red is anger and struggle. As the enso nears completion, you will find bits of orange – symbolizing change. There’s little change because Black people are still struggling to achieve equality in America.
Rosa is outline in a pale yellow. The yellow is used to represent hope. The green wash over the photos in her jacket was actually an accident. After varnishing the images, they bled and some turned a little green. I knew I wanted to do a little more with the images, but I wasn’t quite sure what. The green “bleed” made my decision for me. The green was perfect to contrast with the red and yellow colors. They’re also Pan-African colors.
Initially, I wanted the background to be a bit more chaotic. I wanted the viewer to feel as though they are in the middle of the struggle. I spray painted black over it after not really being too in love with how it turned out and it produced this beautiful texture. The rough surface achieved the look I had wanted without the chaos of too much color.
My favorite part of the image is Rosa’s smirk. It’s remeniscent of Mona Lisa’s smile. To have been arrested for being defiant, in a room full of people that opposed your stance and oppressed your people, and hold a menacing grin during the mugshot is, well… gangster.