I based this "Eyes on the King Verdict" print on photos taken by Ted Soqui during the LA riots of spring 1992. Ted has a long history of photographing activists and protests, which began after the "not guilty" verdicts on April 29, 1992, for the four officers who severely beat Rodney King. I especially love the central pic of a young woman protester in a Malcolm X hat contemplating the scene. I think it is important to consider the symbolic weight of the Rodney King verdict and the emotional impact on communities of color seeking justice and accountability. At the time, 30 years ago, I remember feeling enraged that such a blatant act of police brutality was going unpunished when it was captured on video. It is heartbreaking how frequently similar acts of violence and abuse of power by law enforcement have gone unpunished, even when caught on camera. I don't ever condone violence or looting, but I understand why LA erupted in riots and protests after the King verdict. When people feel that the American system has failed them repeatedly, things can reach a boiling point. The urge to protest injustice and the right to do so are legitimate, even if looting is not legitimate. The LA riots were a tragic mixture. However, beware of those who try to conflate protest with "criminal agitation" or "inciting a riot." When the system fails the people, it is nothing short of patriotic for the people to protest for a solution. Ted Soqui and I both signed the "Eyes on the King Verdict" print. A portion of the proceeds will benefit WLCAC (Watts Labor Community Action Committee). Edition of 600. $70.
Eyes On The King Verdict. 18 x 24 inches. Screen print on thick cream Speckletone paper. Original Illustration based on photograph by Ted Soqui. Signed by Ted Soqui and Shepard Fairey. Numbered edition of 600. $70.