About the work

Rituals of Commemoration, 2014-ongoing

What started as a gesture of anger and disbelief at the killing of Michael Brown in 2014 turned into six years of focused studious research, examination and inquiry that is self-regulated and on-going, visualizing the loss of human beings, Black men, women and youth killed by police from 1979 - 2020. Ongoing work undertaking the collection, organization, and visualization of injustice, accessible to the public. This work serves as a space holder, a memory legacy that will ensure that Black, men, women, and youth killed by police are not forgotten, giving the lives lost dignity and respect by creating a physical space of remembrance and a symbolic acknowledgement of a difficult present. 

Research is a crucial and time-consuming part of this work, it is both creative and systematic. A studious inquiry and examination. It is an investigation aimed at discovering and interpreting of the facts, a revision of the accepted police versions of what happened in light of information, by family, witnesses, and neighbors. It is work undertaken to increase our cumulative knowledge, it involves the collection, organization, and analysis of information that increases our understanding of this issue. 

The online research resources include newspaper articles, writing by scholars, museum archives and the Washington Post’s data investigation which relies primarily on news accounts, social media postings and police reports.

I balance hours of research with the process of spray-painting and distressing each brick after centering the names and aligning each letter, there is layering, and drying time in addition to the final glaze. The colors are Reddish Brown, Burnt Umber, Chocolate, Indian red, Carmine, and Black. The process is ritualistic, repetitive, numbing; it helps me cope with the overwhelming number of instances of tragedy and horrific violence.

I am interested in creating work that is relevant to the conversations nationwide addressing the systematic and historic racism that promotes inequality, poverty and a school to prison pipeline, the role and history of policing and U.S. foreign policy. It is an invitation for viewers to participate in a project that features reflection, social interaction, objects, and action.  My fundamental unwavering belief in justice fuels this desire to use these markers as permanent tombstones meaningfully marking lives lost. I believe this is an act of disruption that will provoke conversation, hold memory, and interrogate our own unconscious biases.

 © 2005 by Rosa Naday Garmendia. Proudly created with Wix.com