100 Expressions: Thom Whalen
Thom Whalen, Chatham
Title: 4 Legs are Better-Keystone
Narrative: “4 Legs are Better-Keystone” reiterates the Animal Farm story by George Orwell. The trial of tears launched by Andrew Jackson relocated native Americans to the region of Oklahoma in 1839. Stereotypes of Indians are masqueraded in various memes throughout the work. Forced into a life not known to the native people they struggle in a white man’s world with casinos, salmon farms and their connection with nature left mutated by the Keystone pipeline.
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Title: Build the Wall
Narrative: “Build the Wall” echoes the sentiments of America found on Ellis island. The efforts of immigrants to better their lives has an asterisk of exception on freedom policy under the Trump presidency. Fascist flags wave to not take the bait. Our brothers south of the border are portrayed as thieves, rapists and murderers who struggle against Chinese factories and American domination. Praying hands with trowels are clotheslined as a symbol of construction against impending persecution.
Title: Bad Harambe
Narrative: “Bad Harambe” is a visual metaphor of both the gorilla killed in Cincinnati and Trayvon Martin who was slain in Florida. Both victims were in a gated community built to keep them in or out. The hooded figure wears the “Keep America Great” hat as a reminder of the 54 number of times Harambe’s death was broadcast through media outlets, 54 times more than the Chicago shooting. The circle graph shows the media reports of the Trayvon murder shared between the various right/left wing news agencies. The logo of Pepe the frog emblazons the emoji used on twitter feeds by the alt-right. The skittles are used as a symbol of what was found on Trayvon at the time of death as well as the statement Trump Jr. made of Syrians: If four poison skittles were in a bowl would you eat from the bowl?
Title: He Bro
Medium: Oil on found objects
Narrative: "He Brow" is a response that challenges a sacred image of the black Last Supper reproduction. Who owns religion reverberates with Trump’s response to black lives matter in Chicago where he stated we should go in and take over. The doughboy represents fat-white America and arrogantly leans in on the Trump costume with the cracker insult of urban language.