SMoC: Who Says Kansas Is Flat?

See also on LA Progressive

IMG_5556The Sidewalk Museum of Congress (SMoC) located outside 1st District Rep. Roger Marshall’s office at 200 E. Iron Ave., Salina, KS, 67401 is an anti-status-quo palette of dissent against the status quo of establishment politics and its allied mainstream media, and of elite museum spaces. This resistance space has every color and no logo. SMoC is the palette, the media, the planter, and the engaging (or not) audience harvester.

 

IMG_7800SMoC communicates through everything that enters its space — through chalk, through grains, music, signs, spoken-word, the homeless pedestrians’ footsteps, embroidery floss, poetry, @RogerMarshallMD’s office window display, car horns, the finger, the hand-wave, the passing freight train, empty glasses, the smells of the nearby flour mill, American Pie, climate, shadows, silence…

 

IMG_5539 copySMoC plants justice in opposition to arrogant white exceptionalism…

 

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IMG_5547 copy… and to the hypocrisy of ag-man Roger Marshall when it comes to the rights of meat packing plants and the market vs the rights of the meat packers who work in them, and other farmworkers.

 

IMG_8589 copyIt plants justice to the Representative’s vomit-inducing tweets such as “Another victory for the @realDonaldTrump administration and our increasing border security!”

 

IMG_4648 2It plants food justice through “discomfort food” and Crystal’s recipe design for American Pie inspired by her question “But what is America?” (recipe drawing by Crystal).

 

IMG_7751America is the land layered with European settler-annihilators that built slave farms on the mainland, whose children built plantations in fertile Central America, whose children built military bases on national parks in Arizona, built them on indigenous territories.

 

IMG_5608SMoC plants justice for the victims of U.S. domestic and foreign policies via songs like “Livin’ in the Wasteland of the Free” by Iris DeMent, as played by Alex and Isaiah…

 

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IMG_5607… and via Angela’s chalked-pink words “NO PEOPLE IN CAGES,” reinforced in blue a few days later by Abbi.

 

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IMG_5574It plants justice for the American citizens of Puerto Rico who still haven’t recovered from superpower neglect after Hurricane Maria…

 

IMG_7848 copy… and for the thousands of Hondurans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans who are fleeing to the U.S. from the ravages of decades of U.S. coups, intervention, CIA-backed death squads, economic policies, all of which have rendered their countries unlivable.

 

IMG_5606It plants the names of refugees like 21-year-old Alejandro Gomez Vasquez and 34-year-old Edyn Castro whose remains were found in Pima, Arizona. They are just two of thousands who have died in the deadly Sonoran Desert while trying to seek asylum in the U.S.

 

IMG_5594It plants justice for disoriented families, running, scattering from the roar and shadows of helicopters that are part of the U.S. border patrol’s inhumane Prevention Through Deterrence tactics; running in the night from rattlesnakes, from jumping chollas; running, holding non-reflecting black water bottles.

 

image1It plants justice for asylum-seekers through Piyush’s hand-written words and his “discomfort drink” Toppled Water Glasses.

 

IMG_5603It plants justice for the people of Flint, Michigan. Still. Through John’s spoken-word:

Dirty Water…

—by John E. Epic

Flowing from my tap

Dirty water

Quite toxic

It’s a tragedy, but no mishap

And I’m not drinking it.

Spraying from my shower

Dirty water

While politicians fill their pockets

Soon will be the hour

When we no longer take it.

Children drinking from the faucet

Dirty water

Lead blood droplets

Making ‘em sick and nauseous

and they shouldn’t be drinking it.

Underground pipes under my feet

Dirty water

Carried to impoverished streets

Purposely concealed ignorance

Ignored with apathy

This is what the next generation inherits

And I’m not drinking it.

Neglected planet getting hotter

Dirty water

Natured slaughtered

Dirty water

Future of fire

For our sons and daughters

Dirty water

Old white men behind false altars

Dirty water

Progress slowed by lobbyists and crooked lawyers

Dirty water

Subsided farming drains the well

Dirty water

Anger and hate begin to swell

Dirty water

Who is to blame

Dirty water

All of us should feel ashamed

Dirty water

For the guilt is owned by people with a  common name

Dirty water

Human beings are at fault

Dirty water

Our will has been sold and bought

Dirty water

And now we’re caught

Ashamed

Pointing fingers to blame

Rendering nothing taught

And soon

Half the world will be in flames

And flowing from my tap

Dirty water

Quite toxic

Not a tragedy or mishap

And I’m not drinking it

I’m not going to sit here

And take it

It is time

To right our wrongs

Heal our past crimes

To no longer prolong or continue to permit

The deconstruction of our planet

Dirty water

I’m not drinking it…

 

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Unfinished Portrait: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan

In these fourteen years since I first began work on this project, only Sheila Chandra’s words have stayed consistent: Is waqt hum jazbaat ke sagar mein hain aur sahilon ka kahin patta nahin. Is waqt hum… (At this moment we are in a sea of sentiment, and there is no shore in site. At this moment…)

SMoC

A work that brings us face-to-face with some of those who have died in the US-led invasions and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unfinished Portrait, acrylic gouache, 2008 (continuing.)

The work so far has seventy-eight 12 x 12 x 3/8 inch panels painted in desert-camouflage colors to represent the first 344,926 people who have died in these wars.

Below is one of thirty-eight panels that is painted with 8,836 small dots representing faces of Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani children (the tiniest dots you see), women, and men who have died in these wars. Together, these panels represent 335,768 faces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAccording to the ‘Costs of War’ project based at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, at least 370,000 people have been killed by violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. This does not include the many hundreds of thousands more who have died as a result of the destruction of hospitals and infrastructure, and because of environmental…

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