"Kin Killin' Kin" an artistic vision of violence
CINCINNATI (Deb Dixon) - A powerful series of drawings called out the similarities between street gang violence and the Klan.
The exhibit is sparking conversations and emotions. Visitors move with the haunting music past the outline of a body, to compelling scenes of black men in Klan hoods committing violence in the hood. Exhibit Kin Killin' Kin calls out similarities between the terrorism of gang violence and terrorism of the Klan.
The chaos on the canvas takes 17-year-old Kaelon Lowrey back to when he was a little boy. Gunmen burst into his home and killed his brother.
"The only thing I heard was gunshots, yellow tape was where his body, kind of like that," Kaelon said. "Yes, This takes me back. The memories."
Artist James Pate said, "I want them to pause, reflect, think about your legacy. Think about your heritage, I need these images to tell them what not to do."
James Pate knows what it's like to grow up where violence is around the corner. He was raised in a West End housing project. He attended The School for Creative and Performing Arts.
"There was a safe haven at The Arts Consortium on Linn Street, that's where I spent most of my time," said Pate.
Pate freezes moments in time. Suspending a bullet before it kills. There are often innocent by standers such as a little girl jumping rope.
De'Asia Mack of Hughes High School said, "The man with his nose off, it could have flew past and hit him. Picture says no matter where you are bullets can fly; could be gone."
Gone like every one on the memorial wall. The number is the age of the murder victim. De'aisia knew Nathanial Scott who was murdered in 2014. At 15-years-old Scott had already been involved in a shooting and was targeted by a street gang according to police. He was shot in the back and chest in Walnut Hills in the middle of the day.
Pate started working on the exhibit in 2,000 and said he would keep drawing as long as the violence continued. It has. The F.B.I. says 93 percent of black homicide victims in America in 2014 were killed by blacks. In Cincinnati there have been 66 homicides so far in 2015; 55 were black men and women, 54 of those charged or identified by witness descriptions were black.
Pastor Peterson Mingo, a community activist, said, "It's interesting. When they see black men dressed as Klan what's going on? Some figure it out. We don't have to worry about the old Klan we have to worry about new Klan. We are the new Klan killing each other."
Pastor Mingo thinks those who see Kin Killin Kin will not forget it. Perhaps they'll talk about it, inspiring change. The exhibit will be at The Freedom Center into February 2016. There has been another homicide of a young black man since this story was edited. Detectives just started working the case.
Tuesday, Dec. 1, Cincinnati Human Relations Commission announced Mingo was the new program manager for Community Outreach Advocates. The advocates work in high crime neighborhoods building relationships that can change lives. The main focus is reducing gun violence.