My guerilla art project, titled My Power, was inspired by a public installation artist, Candy Change, who aims to use her artistic talents and urban planning background, “to make cities more comfortable for people.” However, I drew most of my inspiration from her “Before I Die” project. The project consisted of her creating an imitation chalk board on an abandoned house. Across the chalkboard, she wrote Before I Die and then a line, so that spectators could finish the statement. I knew that I wanted my project to invite active participation. I didn’t want to make a piece and then stick it somewhere to only be glanced over. I also wanted my project to prompt self reflection about some social issue, and my final project helped me in connecting both pieces. For my final project, I was going to do a screening of the award winning documentary, “Silent Choices” and then follow up with a discussion about the film. However, I wanted to add an interactive component to the discussion and decided to combine both my guerilla art and final project. The film extensively examined how the pro-life/pro-choice debate has historically played out in the Black community. However, an important theme that kept arising was this idea that women of color, lower class women, educated women, and young women were slowly losing power over their reproductive anatomy. Political and other interests groups were and still are making great attempts to place rigid limitations on such women’s reproductive capacities and I wanted my art project to emphasize this lost of power. However, after learning that certain groups aren’t always oppressed, or oppressors, I wanted to make my art project more inclusive of all groups. I wanted my project to be a tool that individuals could use to both identity different aspects of their identity and then reflect on how that identity provides them power; also, I wanted them to think about the ways in which they can use that power to empower others or themselves. It seemed that my project got good responses. Some statements were very power. For example, one student wrote that as a survivor, they had the power to love again. I never thought that my project would prompt such deep reflection, especially around issues such as sexual assault. Another student identified themselves as being privileged and wanted to use that privilege to work with disempowered groups. Overall, it seemed that my project solicited good response from a small group of students on campus and I was satisfied with the idea that I achieved my goal for such students.
I decided that I would also imitate the fake chalkboard concept, by buying four pieces of black butch paper, and different colored pastels to imitate chalk. I would split my “chalkboard” into two sections: one side would be labeled “As a blank” and the other side would say, “I have the power to blank.” Underneath the headings, I drew white longs on each side, so that my audience could fill in the blanks. Also, I wrote examples under each heading, so that my audience could get the sense of how to respond to each statement. Once finished, I hung up in my dining room, to see if I could solicit some responses and surprisingly, I did. After coming in from class the next day, I saw that three people had written responses. My project would make its major debut at the screening and after the screening, I was glad to see participants write responses to the statements. I plan to hang it up in Sayles next, considering it’s one of the most popular buildings on campus for students.