There’s a mural in the street that says ALL LIVES MATTER. A few days ago, it said BLACK LIVES MATTER.
As I stare at the defaced artwork, I begin to understand that the great sin of our time isn’t hatred. It’s apathy. It’s the impulse to surrender to your default settings, to your pre-configured notions of who somebody is based on how they appear. To assume, rather than think. To fear, rather than learn. Hatred has agency, it has intent. Hatred is a spear, ground to a fine point over hundreds of millions of years to serve a single purpose. It knows only one end, and therefore it’s limited. You dig? We can overcome hatred. But apathy? Apathy is easy, unassuming; it’s a jellyfish floating in the waves. Shifting and amorphous, it poses a far greater threat to the ocean than the spear, it’s callous indifference spread to all those around it via a simple touch. The jellyfish is content in its carelessness, happy to administer its sting to both the tiniest fish and the greatest whale, as though they have fought the same current all their lives. Except they haven’t
This is why BLACK LIVES MATTER is an anchor, a rallying point for the marginalized and disenfranchised victims of systemic violence, and ALL LIVES MATTER is a mindless platitude, a jellyfish whose deadly sting serves only to satisfy our base impulse towards indifference, our desire to look beyond the pointed issue towards a world where we may all float along, unaware of to whom our ignorant stings are being administered. That’s the non-polyp ideology; float on and care not who runs afoul of your tentacles, for your conscience will remain clean. You didn’t make the ocean violent, and therefore you don’t feel responsible for the structures that exist before you, around you, inside you. This is how indifference has become our new prejudice, how a lack of awareness has become far more toxic than even the most hateful of voices. When everyone is content to say nothing, even the quietest utterances of discrimination can be heard.
word by Josh Elyea
colour by Andre Barnwell
Andre Barnwell was born July 7th, 1984 and raised in Toronto but currently resides in Vancouver. Ever since moving out west in 2013, Andre has been inspired by the city’s art community and motivated by the accessibility to the tools he needs to pursue his artistic passion and desires. Graduated as an animator from Ontario’s Sheridan College he was exposed to various styles and media to create art even though he prefers to use digital as a means to an artistic end. Fascinated by the human face, most of work is portrait based ranging in different colour schemes, particularly his blue and red monochromatic digital studies.
Outside of portrait work and digital sketches, he enjoys music, film, travelling, and building his brand, Sex N Sandwiches. He looks forward to collaborating with artists such as sculptors, photographers and musicians for future projects. With the world getting smaller with the help of technology, he implores artists and art lovers to follow his growth via social networks and eventually to international stages.
Keep it growing!
The author’s words do not necessarily represent the views of the artist.