By appropriating former mayor Martin O'Malley's "Believe Campaign" slogan as well as portraits of locally prolific political figures Sheila Dixon and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; I created mock campaign posters and made subtle modifications to each portrait. Dixon's golden tooth is a direct parallel to the scandal in which she embezzled a small amount of money in gift certificates; the gold tooth and Sheila's story are a prime example of the deceptive nature and greed of groups and individuals in professional political positions today (though, I by no means wish to villify or generalize those who serve the BCPD, participate in the local government or any other establishment). Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, our current mayor, has received controversial news coverage as well. Through these posters, contextually aimed at local Baltimoreans, I hope to reiterate the idea of Baltimore's individually corrupt political leaders, as well as the Baltimore City government's sometimes questionable decisions and policy. Through this, the viewer is automatically forced to assess their stance on such issues, and automatically becomes more conscious by doing so.
As a Baltimore County native, I have always been consistently exposed to WBAL news stories covering Baltimore's homicide rate, most recent arrests, rapes, etc. When I lived in Northern Baltimore County, I visited Baltimore now and then with my parents or friends to go to the zoo, or visit the aquarium and Inner Harbor. My perception of the city was very limited. I was only exposed to the polished and tourist-friendly parts of the city. I moved to the 2000 block of Madison Avenue, off of North Avenue and Eutaw Place, before my first year at the Maryland Institute. This experience enabled me to be a part of a culture that I had never imagined being a part of, and more importantly, I gained an increasingly more accurate perception of the whole city of Baltimore.
I find it very important to be aware and educate one self on the local Baltimore government's agenda. In this day, government is the basic cannon for change, as it has been for most of time. It is clear that government has a direct and increasingly significant impact on our lives. There are many problems in Baltimore that must be addressed-- corruption amongst the City Council and Mayor, as well the BCPD has become more and more apparent in recent years. As a young artist and Baltimore resident I seek to critique the local political and cultural structures that ultimately rule me.
Below, I have listed a few videos and readings that provided inspiration for this project: