Photography by Dusty
Last night I attended an art show at the White Room showcasing the work of Merima Repesa, also known as MERIMART. This exhibit, Repesa's first solo show, had an incredible turnout. Sucka Free sponsor TYFNS attracted the right crowd for this type of art and my very talented friend Marcus J. Washington provided lit music all night.
According to the event page, her artwork "engages in subjects that are in relation to the DMV area, drug abuse, ethnic cleansing, feminism and police brutality." These themes definitely came through in the pieces I saw last night.
I had many favorites, but in this post I'm only going to highlight and give my interpretations on five in no particular order. Comment below with your own input on these pieces and make sure to follow her for more dope work: @merimartusa
This was one of the first pieces I saw of the show and I loved it for this simple fact: yes does not always mean yes. In this piece you see all of these words crossed out that show compliance or agreement, even the actual word yes.
Now MERIMART might have been speaking on a multitude of platforms, but my mind immediately jumped to the idea of sexual assault. We are living in a world that does not understand what consent means. Even if someone is giving off all of the vibes that yes, she wants a sexual encounter, it is not an invitation to do so.
Some pieces in this series had sadistic or dark tones to them and this piece was definitely on the darker side. Without a brain you are dead to the world and to anybody that you may encounter.
This skeleton could have either been buying a brain back or selling his, but the question running through my mind: what is truly the price of knowledge?
My family has been in this metropolitan area for generations. My grandparents and parents grew up in what they knew to be "Chocolate City." Yet nowadays when you walk around the district, you hardly see a strong representation of black people. Instead of making space for their white counterparts, there is a push for black people to just leave.
This piece represented this process perfectly. New apartments all around Washington D.C. are starting to appear, but the prices completely shut out the people who used to be able to identify as D.C. locals. It is hard to say, but "Chocolate City" is no more; just a gentrified reality.
"Dead or Jail"
These street signs seem to be the pathways that many blacks have had to choose from in today's society. The block number seemed to represent the decade where one option was more prominent than the other. I have always said the modern criminal justice system is the new and improved form of lynching.
Fact: The United States comprises less than five percent of the world's population but about 22 percent of the world's prisoners. Fact: African Americans constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million prisoners in America (Source) . Let that sink in.
This was definitely me and my best friend's favorite piece of the night. One thing that highlights the D.C. experience is the metro and anybody who lives in this area has probably experienced how packed the metro can get. It's not always the most wonderful experience to say the least.
Many pieces in MERIMART's show had everyday D.C. lingo worked into it, but this one really made me laugh. This also reminded me of one of the best gogo songs to come from this area, "Sardines" by Junkyard Band :).
Remember to comment with your own interpretations on the pieces above! Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. I am very interested to see what else MERIMART has to offer.