Art in Focus – April 2021
Cross We Bear
Sokari Douglas-Camp, steel, glass, acetate, 90s air
The brilliance of art is that one image can convey multiple meanings, and keep on delivering new insights the longer you live with it. In 1999, sculptor Sokari Douglas-Camp made this piece, entitled Cross We Bear. The all-too-familiar cross of Jesus supports a British flag bearing the head of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, who was stabbed to death by a gang of five white youths while waiting for a bus in south London. This crime gained special notoriety in the UK for its handling by the police. Only two of the five named suspects were convicted, while the remaining three could not be brought to justice.
As well as Easter Day, this month sees Stephen Lawrence Day on April 22nd. The sculpture was made 22 years ago, but after the death of George Floyd in the US and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement it still resonates today. Where there is injustice, be it racism, sexism or any other such ‘ism’, individuals and communities are having to bear the brunt, carry the weight, shoulder their own crosses, just as the Easter story tells us Jesus did for the evils of the whole world.
Art in focus is curated by Meryl Doney