The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down art museums since they are not high on the list of essential services required by society’s needs as we fight to save lives and prevent the spread of the virus. Many are those who have violated the call for “social distancing” and many are those who have taken the risk and tested positive even in the last weeks as states opened prematurely. During those days, I have learned that Mark Cohen has been painting and painting. His passion is the subject of this article and his paintings are the Jewish Lives Matter-Black Lives Matter Exhibit to be share around the world.
This exhibit begins at a moment of protest worldwide. Black Lives Matter is in the news every day as a result of George Floyd’s almost nine minutes of pain resulting in his death. That pain has been universally felt by all people throughout history as unnecessary death has been inflicted on people through bad politics worldwide. Bad politics is normal among nations. Art reflects the conditions that have resulted in the anti-Semitism against Jews throughout history and the slave trade that has given rise to demonstrations that include four hundred years of hate of Black people in America. Think of how there is no Italian Lives Matter, no Irish Lives Matter, no Polish Lives Matter, etc. movements in our streets today. And my words should not provoke demonstrations that move All Lives Matter demonstrators to change tactics.
I teamed up with Mark Cohen at a time when Muslims were being stopped at airports and Trump’s policies that had to be redone as Trump designated all people from several countries a threat to US.
400 Years of Struggle for Equality. Please share this link with others and view Mark Cohen’s paintings.
Holocaust paintings of Mark Cohen Legacy of Remembrance. Please share this link with others.
“For the past several years, I have been painting and documenting the Black Lives Matter movement in relation to the murder of young black men and women by American police, beginning with Michael Brown. With the advent of cell phone cameras, we get graphic evidence of how white police officers are able to kill African Americans. Almost always, these murders – and let’s not mince words – these are murders, are perpetrated after some minor traffic offense. And after the demonstrations begin with the Black Lives Matter signs, “T’ shirts and chants, we are always met with the white people standard refrain of “Blue Lives Matter”, “Jewish Lives Matter”, “All Lives Matter”, etc., etc. By now, you should understand what nonsense these refrains that are meant to justify police behavior do not excuse it. Do not justify it. Do not compare with the murder of African Americans by cops.
Somehow white people want all of us to equate Black Lives Mattering with blue lives and white lives and yellow lives and green lives and purple lives. THEY DO NOT EQUATE. It’s no mistake that our federal government refuses to compile the nationwide statistics of cops killing African Americans. So we don’t have any idea how often these murders occur, or have occurred over the decades. What we do know is that for more than 400 years in America Black Lives HAVE NOT Mattered.
When thousands upon thousands of Africans were brought to America on slave ships and sold to plantation owners in the South to work their lands, BLACK LIVES DID NOT MATTER. They lived as slaves, working the land for and making wealth for white land owners. When our Constitution was written by white male land owners, like Thomas Jefferson, who wrote “all men are created equal…” while he worked his slaves on his Virginia plantation, BLACK LIVES DID NOT MATTER. Slave ownership continued through the Civil War until President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation “freeing” the slaves. But within 10 years, white landowners in the South established the Jim Crow era, which was simply another method of keeping African Americans enslaved. Because BLACK LIVES DID NOT MATTER. When Lyndon Johnson passed Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s, you might have thought things had changed. But it only took Richard Nixon a few short years to create another means of keeping African Americans from the same freedoms enjoyed by white Americans. Mass incarceration became the next method of enslaving African Americans. Because BLACK LIVES DID NOT MATTER. By using police traffic stops, African Americans were sent to court to pay fines. If they couldn’t pay, they were incarcerated. New prisons across America were built to contain African American non-violent drug dealers or consumers of drugs. Police patrolling of African American neighborhoods was vastly increased because of the War on Drugs. The way that white and African Americans was diametrically opposed. African Americans were sent to prison. Whites received suspended sentences. So mass incarceration became the pervasive way of taking African Americans off the streets. And preventing them from voting. Because BLACK LIVES DID NOT MATTER. Today, Republican governments across the country routinely deny African Americans the right to vote by limiting polling locations, legislating unreasonable ID possession, gerrymandering and more. I paint about injustice, because I want you to think about what is happening in our country. And if we really want to see African American equality in America, white people need to lead that charge.”