Week 7 – Artist Interview – Kenita Hale

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This piece has got to be one of the coolest works I have seen throughout this semester! I love the setup, and how all the tiny little lights look like candles from far away! From the looks of it, I automatically assumed that this piece is supposed to resemble something like a ritual for the dead…or like a memorial stand. As I first walked in the gallery room, I did not know what to expect, since the actual work was confined in a smaller tent that took up about a third of the actual gallery room. I was very surprised and fascinated once I saw how dark everything was. Unlike many other people, I was not scared or freaked out, just straight up amazed!

When I looked on each “grave”, I did not recognize any of the names, so maybe these people are fictional characters that the artist herself made up? On one of the graves, I noticed that there was an empty bottle of beer, and I thought it was funny because the piece is called “The Afterparty”. Upon further inspection of the graves, I found that all these people were actually diagnosed with a medical or mental disorder/condition. Apparently, they were used as entertainment in freak shows, since people thought they were just outcasts and “weirdos” back in the day.

This work really stood out to me, because as a psychology major, I am very into understanding how people are, whether they are mentally ill or not. I do not believe in shunning people, just because they are mentally ill. They deserve to be apart of society just like anyone else, and people just need to have the patience to work with them. It saddens me, because people can so easily judge, without thinking about the deeper meaning behind things. This is a great piece of work, because it really speaks of how alienating people is not the right way to solve issues.

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