Rock the Vote’s “Truth To Power” campaign is all about engaging young people during this year’s high-stakes election. And with hot-button issues like climate change, mass incarceration, police brutality and other dominant headlines, the organization carved a space for artists to share their takes on the pressing topics.
HuffPost’s Alyona Minkovski took a tour of Rock the Vote’s pop-up art exhibit, which ran in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention in July, to check out a few of the pieces on display. Luis Calderin, the organization’s vice president of marketing and creative, explained that the “issues-based art show” was created to spark a dialogue about the problems of today, rather than focus on individual candidates.
“What we wanted to do was bring people together and have issues-based conversations, from the panelists to the art work,” he told Minkovski.
One of the more than 250 pieces on display was Michael Murphy’s “Identity Crisis,” which speaks to the gun violence problem in the United States. From one perspective, the suspended guns appear to be organized in the shape of the United States, but from another, they collectively form the shape of a large handgun.
The art show also highlighted the numerous lives that are lost to police violence every year. Artist Ann Lewis chose to showcase the issue with her aptly-titled art piece called “ ... and counting,” which documented the hundreds of people who have been killed this year with a striking, visual presentation. The installation was made up of more than 600 toe tags, each of which hung from the ceiling and bore the name of a person killed by police.
One of the most poignant aspects of the installation is that the piece isn’t truly finished. A few nameless toe tags also hung from the ceiling, leaving space to add to the exhibit as the number of people killed by police grows.
Calderin urged those who felt moved by the installation to speak up in hopes of stopping the violence.
“If this statistic matters to you, if this tag as an individual matters to you — that’s someone in your neighborhood or that’s your family member — this is your time to make a difference,” he said.
Check out the video above to see more pieces and hear from one of the artists featured in the show.