Don't try to tell us who to love, don't pretend to force us to admire the vain fake personifications of your tainted values, we will choose our own role models. We will cherish humanity, humility and the courage of caring for the ignored, speaking for the dismissed.
We use these walls to speak our values as loud as we can. It doesn't matter if you want to listen, you will hear us. Big and motherf**g loud.
This summer, i was asked by Pop Montreal and LOVE (Leave Out Violence) to create and teach a workshop to 8teens considered "at risk”.
They say "at risk", i saw "smart as fuck". A full month o “teaching” and really discussing the theme i chose: “Role Models”. 5hours a day, with videos and texts that i brought every day. It was hard and it was kind, it was real and it was aggressive, and we went deep, in the deepest of our values and identities and anger at some aspects of our society.
At the end of the month, they had voted for 5 “pillars” that we all worked on, illustrating the most of their legacy, life and resonance to us. Their bodies are entirely made of the teens' drawings that i collaged together. All i drew is their portraits. If you don't know these ladies yet: Sylvia Rivera, Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, Emma Sulkowicz, Ta'Kaya Blaney and Kerry James. And i added some quotes that the teens chose to add power to their voices.
Thank you Pop Montreal for the building opportunity. Because as i told the kids: people like us NEVER get to have such an opportunity to speak our values on such a big and public billboard. We have to to take full advantage and make it count.