Art Display: Youth Shackled
June 12, 2019
Watzek Library is proud to display a temporary exhibit by Art Therapy graduate student Kat Scarim entitled Youth Shackled. This piece, composed of acrylic paint, chalk, pastel, pencil, collage and wax on brown paper bags, can be found on the 3rd floor of Watzek in the DA-G section overlooking the atrium.
I decided to work on brown paper bags instead of paper. I was drawn towards their fragility and mundanity. Over the course of the semester, I created 21 brown paper bag paintings - one for every client I worked with individually this semester. I wanted to present the bags as a sort of tapestry; individually they are beautiful, but together they tell a story. Interwoven between the paintings is a poem titled, “For a Bailed Denied After Avi” by Dwayne Betts. This poem has impacted me in ways I cannot explain in a short artist statement. This poem shaped my work and empathetic understanding of my clients. I encourage you to spend time with this piece, and to explore more of Dwayne Betts’ work at www.dwaynebetts.com
For A Bail Denied
By: Reginald Dwayne Betts
I won’t tell you how it ended,
& his mother won’t, either, but
beside me she stood & some things
neither of us could know. & now,
all is lost; lost is all in the ruins
of what happened after.
The kid, & we should call him kid,
call him a fucking child, his face
smooth & lacking history of razor,
without promise of a mustache,
he walked into court a ghost &
let’s just call it a cauldron, admit
his nappy head made him blacker
than whatever pistol he held,
whatever casket awaited; the
prosecutor’s bald head was black,
or brown but when has brown not
been akin to black here? To abyss
& does it matter (black lives)
if all the prosecutor said of black boys
was that they kill? The child beside
his mother & his mother beside me &
I am no one’s father, just a public
defender, fiddle-footed here, where
the state turns men, women, children
into numbers, searching for a phoenix’s
embers, for angels born in the shadows
of this breaking. This boy beside me’s
wings withering, fool on the brink of life
& broken & it’s all possible, because
one day or night or morning this woman
& a man the boy does not call daddy
fucked in what would be called passion
anywhere else; anywhere else called love.
& the judge spoke & the kid kept confessing:
I did it. I mean, I did it. I mean — Jesus.
& everyone in the room wanted a flask.
The boy’s mother said: This is not
justice. You will not throw my son into
that fucking ocean. She meant prison.
& we was too powerless to stop it.
& we was too tired to be beautiful.