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Voice of the Voiceless - click for closeup -- so simple a four-year-old child can figure it out...now somebody find me a four-year-old child, I can't make head or tail of it

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Voice of the Voiceless
1999 - Watercolors and Correction Fluid on Paper

Here is one of my favorite watercolor paintings. It incorporates the style common to the other works, it's similar to another piece that I like (the similarly titled War Within a Breath), and the slightly more representational manner is a good change of pace.

I finished this alongside Superunknown, and compared to that piece, was painted pretty quickly. The main paint and LP was applied in one evening, and then marker pens were used to fill in the blanks later. It's all very aggressive and fluid, and that's just the sort of thing I want to see in abstract painting. All too often, I don't, which was probably my main motivation for painting.

If you don't like something you see, then try to change it. A pretty good lesson for life, I think.

The name comes from a song on the third Rage Against the Machine album, The Battle of Los Angelos. It was their best work, and pretty much the finest rock-rap album in memory. But then again, Rage always put the whole "frat-rock" sub-genre to shame with their inventive intelligence. The phrase, "Voice of the Voiceless," refers to Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former journalist and militant who's the great cause celebre for progressives and left-leaning activists everywhere. "Free Mumia" is the activist's version of the "John 3-16" guy with the rainbow wig.

I reflect upon Mumia's excellent book, Live From Death Row, which had an impact on me, as well as the legal compromise reached on his death row status. After years of almost facing execution, a judge reassigned him to Life Without Parole. I have to admit that this was a fair compromise. This is a case where one's opinion is pretty much set in stone; either you believe he shot a police officer, or you believe he was railroaded by the system. So this decision works for everyone, I think. Mumia won't face execution, but neither will he be released.

This is one of those times when you realize that life is more complicated than most of us would like to think. Sometimes truth is frustratingly evasive, sometimes the innocent suffer, and sometimes an intelligent social critic commits murder. I'll be mature enough to entertain the thought that the man really is guilty; like Michael Moore writes, sometimes we have to admit when we're wrong, and, you know, maybe he really did kill that cop. If that's true, he should spend the rest of his life behind bars. I honestly don't know the final truth.

And America's capital punishment system is horribly racist and impossibly corrupt. It must be abolished, and this country must stop its endless war on the poor and the helpless. Hopefully one day Americans won't be suckered by a media and political class that profits by keeping us endlessly terrified and distracted. When that day comes, some measure of true justice will be achieved.