Voices

Flame Friday: Artist James Pate

Happy Flame Friday! This week, we’re featuring local artist and Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts alumni James Pate. His series Kin Killin’ Kin, opening tomorrow at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, is a striking visual experience exploring youth violence in inner city communities.  

“I was moved to use art as a means of illustrating this tragedy; complete with black brothers in pointed hoods creating acts of violence in the ‘hood,’" said James of his series. "Every piece that I complete is a way of accepting some of the responsibility for these acts of violence. Every piece is a moment of silence and dedication to the people who have had to deal personally with our losses.” 

Pate’s self-described “Techo-Cubist” style uses charcoal coupled with techniques of illusion, shadow, juxtaposition, shape and perspectives. The concept of visually comparing modern day youth violence to Ku Klux Klan terrorism was sparked from ongoing conversations within the Black community, calling out the similarities between gang violence and the terrorism inflicted by the Ku Klux Klan. By combining the iconography of the Ku Klux Klan, the Civil Rights Movement and all too familiar images of gang violence, Pate places the viewer inside the acts and the conversation, demanding their attention and reflection on the challenges, causes and insidious nature of violence.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center vice president and provost Dr. Battle is looking forward to the response from the community, “We welcome the community to join us in constructive dialogue about youth violence-- a subject that is affecting communities across the nation. It is our responsibility as a national museum of conscious to present difficult stories that must be told in order to inspire action that will lead to positive change here in Cincinnati and across the country.”

The opening program for Kin Killin’ Kin  will take place this Saturday, November 14 at 11:00 a.m. in the Everyday Freedom Heroes Gallery and will feature remarks from NURFC president Dr. C.G. Newsome; James Pilcher, Cincinnati Enquirer; Anthony Stringer, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio; and Artist James Pate.  The exhibit is included with museum admission and is curated by Willis Bing Davis Shango: Center for the Study of African American Art & Culture.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Images: Artist James Pate in gallery at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. 

Related Content: Kin Killin’ KinPower of the Vote.

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