Over the past two weeks I have been creating a collage on the history of the colinization of the Americas. Inspired by Trump’s slogan, “Make America great again” I used this drawing assignment to make visible the “greatness” of America.
Today I hand in a collage that measures 20′ x 1-2′ which visually depicts two different stories, often not told together. On the top, in colour, is the polished up version of historical events: Columbus discovers America, brave Captain John Smith, William Penn’s treaty, Abraham Lincoln, etc. On the bottom, in black and white, detail the enslavement, extermination, torture, and exploitation of the land and people’s of the Americas, Africa, and, down the line, the destruction of lives and peoples outside the US, such as Japan, Vietnam, Laos, Iraq. The collage ends with a picture of protesters from Black Lives Matter with a sign reading “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” and a picture of the Standing Rock protectors.
Tonight I hand this in. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy to take a hard look at history. But, as someone who has benefited from hundreds of years of injustice, I feel it is the very least I can do.